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41 Janelia Publications

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    10/18/18 | In toto imaging and reconstruction of post-implantation mouse development at the single-cell level.
    McDole K, Guignard L, Amat F, Berger A, Malandain G, Royer LA, Turaga SC, Branson K, Keller PJ
    Cell. 2018 Oct 10:. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.09.031

    The mouse embryo has long been central to the study of mammalian development; however, elucidating the cell behaviors governing gastrulation and the formation of tissues and organs remains a fundamental challenge. A major obstacle is the lack of live imaging and image analysis technologies capable of systematically following cellular dynamics across the developing embryo. We developed a light-sheet microscope that adapts itself to the dramatic changes in size, shape, and optical properties of the post-implantation mouse embryo and captures its development from gastrulation to early organogenesis at the cellular level. We furthermore developed a computational framework for reconstructing long-term cell tracks, cell divisions, dynamic fate maps, and maps of tissue morphogenesis across the entire embryo. By jointly analyzing cellular dynamics in multiple embryos registered in space and time, we built a dynamic atlas of post-implantation mouse development that, together with our microscopy and computational methods, is provided as a resource. VIDEO ABSTRACT.

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    03/29/18 | Multi-view light-sheet imaging and tracking with the MaMuT software reveals the cell lineage of a direct developing arthropod limb.
    Wolff C, Tinevez J, Pietzsch T, Stamataki E, Harich B, Guignard L, Preibisch S, Shorte S, Keller PJ, Tomancak P, Pavlopoulos A
    eLife. 2018 Mar 29:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.34410

    During development, coordinated cell behaviors orchestrate tissue and organ morphogenesis. Detailed descriptions of cell lineages and behaviors provide a powerful framework to elucidate the mechanisms of morphogenesis. To study the cellular basis of limb development, we imaged transgenic fluorescently-labeled embryos from the crustacean Parhyale hawaiensis with multi-view light-sheet microscopy at high spatiotemporal resolution over several days of embryogenesis. The cell lineage of outgrowing thoracic limbs was reconstructed at single-cell resolution with new software called Massive Multi-view Tracker (MaMuT). In silico clonal analyses suggested that the early limb primordium becomes subdivided into anterior-posterior and dorsal-ventral compartments whose boundaries intersect at the distal tip of the growing limb. Limb-bud formation is associated with spatial modulation of cell proliferation, while limb elongation is also driven by preferential orientation of cell divisions along the proximal-distal growth axis. Cellular reconstructions were predictive of the expression patterns of limb development genes including the BMP morphogen Decapentaplegic.

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    01/23/18 | A preferred curvature-based continuum mechanics framework for modeling embryogenesis.
    Khairy K, Lemon WC, Amat F, Keller PJ
    Biophysical Journal. 2018 Jan 23;114(2):267-77. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2017.11.015

    Mechanics plays a key role in the development of higher organisms. However, understanding this relationship is complicated by the difficulty of modeling the link between local forces generated at the subcellular level and deformations observed at the tissue and whole-embryo levels. Here we propose an approach first developed for lipid bilayers and cell membranes, in which force-generation by cytoskeletal elements enters a continuum mechanics formulation for the full system in the form of local changes in preferred curvature. This allows us to express and solve the system using only tissue strains. Locations of preferred curvature are simply related to products of gene expression. A solution, in that context, means relaxing the system’s mechanical energy to yield global morphogenetic predictions that accommodate a tendency toward the local preferred curvature, without a need to explicitly model force-generation mechanisms at the molecular level. Our computational framework, which we call SPHARM-MECH, extends a 3D spherical harmonics parameterization known as SPHARM to combine this level of abstraction with a sparse shape representation. The integration of these two principles allows computer simulations to be performed in three dimensions on highly complex shapes, gene expression patterns, and mechanical constraints. We demonstrate our approach by modeling mesoderm invagination in the fruit-fly embryo, where local forces generated by the acto-myosin meshwork in the region of the future mesoderm lead to formation of a ventral tissue fold. The process is accompanied by substantial changes in cell shape and long-range cell movements. Applying SPHARM-MECH to whole-embryo live imaging data acquired with light-sheet microscopy reveals significant correlation between calculated and observed tissue movements. Our analysis predicts the observed cell shape anisotropy on the ventral side of the embryo and suggests an active mechanical role of mesoderm invagination in supporting the onset of germ-band extension.

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    09/05/17 | A general method to fine-tune fluorophores for live-cell and in vivo imaging.
    Grimm JB, Muthusamy AK, Liang Y, Brown TA, Lemon WC, Patel R, Lu R, Macklin JJ, Keller PJ, Ji N, Lavis LD
    Nature Methods. 2017 Oct;14(10):987-994. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.4403

    Pushing the frontier of fluorescence microscopy requires the design of enhanced fluorophores with finely tuned properties. We recently discovered that incorporation of four-membered azetidine rings into classic fluorophore structures elicits substantial increases in brightness and photostability, resulting in the Janelia Fluor (JF) series of dyes. We refined and extended this strategy, finding that incorporation of 3-substituted azetidine groups allows rational tuning of the spectral and chemical properties of rhodamine dyes with unprecedented precision. This strategy allowed us to establish principles for fine-tuning the properties of fluorophores and to develop a palette of new fluorescent and fluorogenic labels with excitation ranging from blue to the far-red. Our results demonstrate the versatility of these new dyes in cells, tissues and animals.

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    05/09/17 | How to make a worm twitch.
    Keller PJ
    Biophysical Journal. 2017 May 09;112(9):1737-1738. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2017.03.035
    10/31/16 | Adaptive light-sheet microscopy for long-term, high-resolution imaging in living organisms.
    Royer LA, Lemon WC, Chhetri RK, Wan Y, Coleman M, Myers EW, Keller PJ
    Nature Biotechnology. 2016 Oct 31;34(12):1267-78. doi: 10.1038/nbt.3708

    Optimal image quality in light-sheet microscopy requires a perfect overlap between the illuminating light sheet and the focal plane of the detection objective. However, mismatches between the light-sheet and detection planes are common owing to the spatiotemporally varying optical properties of living specimens. Here we present the AutoPilot framework, an automated method for spatiotemporally adaptive imaging that integrates (i) a multi-view light-sheet microscope capable of digitally translating and rotating light-sheet and detection planes in three dimensions and (ii) a computational method that continuously optimizes spatial resolution across the specimen volume in real time. We demonstrate long-term adaptive imaging of entire developing zebrafish (Danio rerio) and Drosophila melanogaster embryos and perform adaptive whole-brain functional imaging in larval zebrafish. Our method improves spatial resolution and signal strength two to five-fold, recovers cellular and sub-cellular structures in many regions that are not resolved by non-adaptive imaging, adapts to spatiotemporal dynamics of genetically encoded fluorescent markers and robustly optimizes imaging performance during large-scale morphogenetic changes in living organisms.

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    09/23/16 | Imaging far and wide.
    Chhetri RK, Keller PJ
    eLife. 2016 Sep 23;5:e21072. doi: 10.7554/eLife.18659

    A custom-built objective lens called the Mesolens allows relatively large biological specimens to be imaged with cellular resolution.

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    07/18/16 | Whole-animal imaging with high spatio-temporal resolution.
    Chhetri R, Amat F, Wan Y, Höckendorf B, Lemon WC, Keller PJ
    Proceedings of SPIE. 2016 Jul 18;9720:97200R. doi: 10.1117/12.2212564

    We developed isotropic multiview (IsoView) light-sheet microscopy in order to image fast cellular dynamics, such as cell movements in an entire developing embryo or neuronal activity throughput an entire brain or nervous system, with high resolution in all dimensions, high imaging speeds, good physical coverage and low photo-damage. To achieve high temporal resolution and high spatial resolution at the same time, IsoView microscopy rapidly images large specimens via simultaneous light-sheet illumination and fluorescence detection along four orthogonal directions. In a post-processing step, these four views are then combined by means of high-throughput multiview deconvolution to yield images with a system resolution of ≤ 450 nm in all three dimensions. Using IsoView microscopy, we performed whole-animal functional imaging of Drosophila embryos and larvae at a spatial resolution of 1.1-2.5 μm and at a temporal resolution of 2 Hz for up to 9 hours. We also performed whole-brain functional imaging in larval zebrafish and multicolor imaging of fast cellular dynamics across entire, gastrulating Drosophila embryos with isotropic, sub-cellular resolution. Compared with conventional (spatially anisotropic) light-sheet microscopy, IsoView microscopy improves spatial resolution at least sevenfold and decreases resolution anisotropy at least threefold. Compared with existing high-resolution light-sheet techniques, such as lattice lightsheet microscopy or diSPIM, IsoView microscopy effectively doubles the penetration depth and provides subsecond temporal resolution for specimens 400-fold larger than could previously be imaged.

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    04/18/16 | Repulsive cues combined with physical barriers and cell–cell adhesion determine progenitor cell positioning during organogenesis
    Paksa A, Bandemer J, Höckendorf B, Razin N, Tarbashevich K, Minina S, Meyen D, Gov NS, Keller PJ, Raz E
    Nature Communications. 2016 Apr 18;7:11288. doi: 10.1038/ncomms11288

    The precise positioning of organ progenitor cells constitutes an essential, yet poorly understood step during organogenesis. Using primordial germ cells that participate in gonad formation, we present the developmental mechanisms maintaining a motile progenitor cell population at the site where the organ develops. Employing high-resolution live-cell microscopy, we find that repulsive cues coupled with physical barriers confine the cells to the correct bilateral positions. This analysis revealed that cell polarity changes on interaction with the physical barrier and that the establishment of compact clusters involves increased cell-cell interaction time. Using particle-based simulations, we demonstrate the role of reflecting barriers, from which cells turn away on contact, and the importance of proper cell-cell adhesion level for maintaining the tight cell clusters and their correct positioning at the target region. The combination of these developmental and cellular mechanisms prevents organ fusion, controls organ positioning and is thus critical for its proper function.

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    03/21/16 | Emerging imaging and genomic tools for developmental systems biology.
    Liu Z, Keller PJ
    Developmental Cell. 2016 Mar 21;36(6):597-610. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2016.02.016

    Animal development is a complex and dynamic process orchestrated by exquisitely timed cell lineage commitment, divisions, migration, and morphological changes at the single-cell level. In the past decade, extensive genetic, stem cell, and genomic studies provided crucial insights into molecular underpinnings and the functional importance of genetic pathways governing various cellular differentiation processes. However, it is still largely unknown how the precise coordination of these pathways is achieved at the whole-organism level and how the highly regulated spatiotemporal choreography of development is established in turn. Here, we discuss the latest technological advances in imaging and single-cell genomics that hold great promise for advancing our understanding of this intricate process. We propose an integrated approach that combines such methods to quantitatively decipher in vivo cellular dynamic behaviors and their underlying molecular mechanisms at the systems level with single-cell, single-molecule resolution.

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