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114 Janelia Publications

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    12/23/20 | Directed Evolution of a Selective and Sensitive Serotonin Sensor via Machine Learning.
    Unger EK, Keller JP, Altermatt M, Liang R, Matsui A, Dong C, Hon OJ, Yao Z, Sun J, Banala S, Flanigan ME, Jaffe DA, Hartanto S, Carlen J, Mizuno GO, Borden PM, Shivange AV, Cameron LP, Sinning S, Underhill SM, Olson DE, Amara SG, Temple Lang D, Rudnick G, Marvin JS, Lavis LD, Lester HA, Alvarez VA, Fisher AJ, Prescher JA, Kash TL, Yarov-Yarovoy V, Gradinaru V, Looger LL, Tian L
    Cell. 2020 Dec 23;183(7):1986-2002.e26. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.11.040

    Serotonin plays a central role in cognition and is the target of most pharmaceuticals for psychiatric disorders. Existing drugs have limited efficacy; creation of improved versions will require better understanding of serotonergic circuitry, which has been hampered by our inability to monitor serotonin release and transport with high spatial and temporal resolution. We developed and applied a binding-pocket redesign strategy, guided by machine learning, to create a high-performance, soluble, fluorescent serotonin sensor (iSeroSnFR), enabling optical detection of millisecond-scale serotonin transients. We demonstrate that iSeroSnFR can be used to detect serotonin release in freely behaving mice during fear conditioning, social interaction, and sleep/wake transitions. We also developed a robust assay of serotonin transporter function and modulation by drugs. We expect that both machine-learning-guided binding-pocket redesign and iSeroSnFR will have broad utility for the development of other sensors and in vitro and in vivo serotonin detection, respectively.

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    02/16/21 | Evaluation of multi-color genetically encoded Ca indicators in filamentous fungi.
    Kim H, Kim J, Hwangbo A, Akerboom J, Looger LL, Duncan R, Son H, Czymmek KJ, Kang S
    Fungal Genetics and Biology. 2021 Feb 16:103540. doi: 10.1016/j.fgb.2021.103540

    Genetically encoded Ca indicators (GECIs) enable long-term monitoring of cellular and subcellular dynamics of this second messenger in response to environmental and developmental cues without relying on exogenous dyes. Continued development and optimization in GECIs, combined with advances in gene manipulation, offer new opportunities for investigating the mechanism of Ca signaling in fungi, ranging from documenting Ca signatures under diverse conditions and genetic backgrounds to evaluating how changes in Ca signature impact calcium-binding proteins and subsequent cellular changes. Here, we attempted to express multi-color (green, yellow, blue, cyan, and red) circularly permuted fluorescent protein (FP)-based Ca indicators driven by multiple fungal promoters in Fusarium oxysporum, F. graminearum, and Neurospora crassa. Several variants were successfully expressed, with GCaMP5G driven by the Magnaporthe oryzae ribosomal protein 27 (P) and F. verticillioides elongation factor-1α (P) gene promoters being optimal for F. graminearum and F. oxysporum, respectively. Transformants expressing GCaMP5G were compared with those expressing YC3.60, a ratiometric Cameleon Ca indicator. Wild-type and three Ca signaling mutants of F. graminearum expressing GCaMP5G exhibited improved signal-to-noise and increased temporal and spatial resolution and are also more amenable to studies involving multiple FPs compared to strains expressing YC3.60.

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    01/19/21 | A high-throughput predictive method for sequence-similar fold switchers.
    Kim AK, Looger LL, Porter LL
    Biopolymers. 2021 Jan 19:e23416. doi: 10.1002/bip.23416

    Although most experimentally characterized proteins with similar sequences assume the same folds and perform similar functions, an increasing number of exceptions is emerging. One class of exceptions comprises sequence-similar fold switchers, whose secondary structures shift from α-helix <-> β-sheet through a small number of mutations, a sequence insertion, or a deletion. Predictive methods for identifying sequence-similar fold switchers are desirable because some are associated with disease and/or can perform different functions in cells. Here, we use homology-based secondary structure predictions to identify sequence-similar fold switchers from their amino acid sequences alone. To do this, we predicted the secondary structures of sequence-similar fold switchers using three different homology-based secondary structure predictors: PSIPRED, JPred4, and SPIDER3. We found that α-helix <-> β-strand prediction discrepancies from JPred4 discriminated between the different conformations of sequence-similar fold switchers with high statistical significance (P < 1.8*10 ). Thus, we used these discrepancies as a classifier and found that they can often robustly discriminate between sequence-similar fold switchers and sequence-similar proteins that maintain the same folds (Matthews Correlation Coefficient of 0.82). We found that JPred4 is a more robust predictor of sequence-similar fold switchers because of (a) the curated sequence database it uses to produce multiple sequence alignments and (b) its use of sequence profiles based on Hidden Markov Models. Our results indicate that inconsistencies between JPred4 secondary structure predictions can be used to identify some sequence-similar fold switchers from their sequences alone. Thus, the negative information from inconsistent secondary structure predictions can potentially be leveraged to identify sequence-similar fold switchers from the broad base of genomic sequences.

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    11/11/20 | Optimized Vivid-derived Magnets photodimerizers for subcellular optogenetics in mammalian cells.
    Benedetti L, Marvin JS, Falahati H, Guillén-Samander A, Looger LL, De Camilli P
    Elife. 2020 Nov 11;9:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.63230

    Light-inducible dimerization protein modules enable precise temporal and spatial control of biological processes in non-invasive fashion. Among them, Magnets are small modules engineered from the photoreceptor Vivid by orthogonalizing the homodimerization interface into complementary heterodimers. Both Magnets components, which are well-tolerated as protein fusion partners, are photoreceptors requiring simultaneous photoactivation to interact, enabling high spatiotemporal confinement of dimerization with a single-excitation wavelength. However, Magnets require concatemerization for efficient responses and cell preincubation at 28C to be functional. Here we overcome these limitations by engineering an optimized Magnets pair requiring neither concatemerization nor low temperature preincubation. We validated these 'enhanced' Magnets (eMags) by using them to rapidly and reversibly recruit proteins to subcellular organelles, to induce organelle contacts, and to reconstitute OSBP-VAP ER-Golgi tethering implicated in phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate transport and metabolism. eMags represent a very effective tool to optogenetically manipulate physiological processes over whole cells or in small subcellular volumes.

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    06/01/20 | Nanoscopic visualization of restricted nonvolume cholinergic and monoaminergic transmission with genetically encoded sensors.
    Zhu PK, Zheng WS, Zhang P, Jing M, Borden PM, Ali F, Guo K, Feng J, Marvin JS, Wang Y, Wan J, Gan L, Kwan AC, Lin L, Looger LL, Li Y, Zhang Y
    Nano Letters. 2020 Jun;20(6):4073-83. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.9b04877

    How neuromodulatory transmitters diffuse into the extracellular space remains an unsolved fundamental biological question, despite wide acceptance of the volume transmission model. Here, we report development of a method combining genetically encoded fluorescent sensors with high-resolution imaging and analysis algorithms which permits the first direct visualization of neuromodulatory transmitter diffusion at various neuronal and non-neuronal cells. Our analysis reveals that acetylcholine and monoamines diffuse at individual release sites with a spread length constant of ∼0.75 μm. These transmitters employ varied numbers of release sites, and when spatially close-packed release sites coactivate they can spillover into larger subcellular areas. Our data indicate spatially restricted (i.e., nonvolume) neuromodulatory transmission to be a prominent intercellular communication mode, reshaping current thinking of control and precision of neuromodulation crucial for understanding behaviors and diseases.

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    05/25/20 | jYCaMP: an optimized calcium indicator for two-photon imaging at fiber laser wavelengths.
    Mohr MA, Bushey D, Aggarwal A, Marvin JS, Kim JJ, Marquez EJ, Liang Y, Patel R, Macklin JJ, Lee C, Tsang A, Tsegaye G, Ahrens AM, Chen JL, Kim DS, Wong AM, Looger LL, Schreiter ER, Podgorski K
    Nature Methods. 2020 May 25;17(1):694-97. doi: 10.1038/s41592-020-0835-7

    Femtosecond lasers at fixed wavelengths above 1,000 nm are powerful, stable and inexpensive, making them promising sources for two-photon microscopy. Biosensors optimized for these wavelengths are needed for both next-generation microscopes and affordable turn-key systems. Here we report jYCaMP1, a yellow variant of the calcium indicator jGCaMP7 that outperforms its parent in mice and flies at excitation wavelengths above 1,000 nm and enables improved two-color calcium imaging with red fluorescent protein-based indicators.

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    04/17/20 | Temperature-dependent sex determination is mediated by pSTAT3 repression of Kdm6b..
    Weber C, Zhou Y, Lee JG, Looger LL, Qian G, Ge C, Capel B
    Science. 2020 Apr 17;368(6488):303-306. doi: 10.1126/science.aaz4165

    In many reptiles, including the red-eared slider turtle (), sex is determined by ambient temperature during embryogenesis. We previously showed that the epigenetic regulator is elevated at the male-producing temperature and essential to activate the male pathway. In this work, we established a causal link between temperature and transcriptional regulation of We show that signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is phosphorylated at the warmer, female-producing temperature, binds the locus, and represses transcription, blocking the male pathway. Influx of Ca, a mediator of STAT3 phosphorylation, is elevated at the female temperature and acts as a temperature-sensitive regulator of STAT3 activation.

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    02/08/20 | A fast genetically encoded fluorescent sensor for faithful in vivo acetylcholine detection in mice, fish, worms and flies.
    Borden P, Zhang P, Shivange AV, Marvin JS, Cichon J, Dan C, Podgorski K, Figueiredo A, Novak O, Tanimoto M, Shigetomi E, Lobas MA, Kim H, Zhu P, Zhang Y, Zheng WS, Fan C, Wang G, Xiang B, Gan L, Zhang G, Guo K, Lin L, Cai Y, Yee AG, Aggarwal A, Ford CP, Rees DC, Dietrich D, Khakh BS, Dittman JS, Gan W, Koyama M, Jayaraman V, Cheer JF, Lester HA, Zhu JJ, Looger LL
    bioRxiv. 2020 Feb 8:. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.02.07.939504

    Here we design and optimize a genetically encoded fluorescent indicator, iAChSnFR, for the ubiquitous neurotransmitter acetylcholine, based on a bacterial periplasmic binding protein. iAChSnFR shows large fluorescence changes, rapid rise and decay kinetics, and insensitivity to most cholinergic drugs. iAChSnFR revealed large transients in a variety of slice and in vivo preparations in mouse, fish, fly and worm. iAChSnFR will be useful for the study of acetylcholine in all animals.

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    01/03/20 | The neuropeptide Drosulfakinin regulates social isolation-induced aggression in Drosophila.
    Agrawal P, Kao D, Chung P, Looger LL
    Journal of Experimental Biology. 2020 Jan 03;223(2):. doi: 10.1242/jeb.207407

    Social isolation strongly modulates behavior across the animal kingdom. We utilized the fruit fly to study social isolation-driven changes in animal behavior and gene expression in the brain. RNA-seq identified several head-expressed genes strongly responding to social isolation or enrichment. Of particular interest, social isolation downregulated expression of the gene encoding the neuropeptide (), the homologue of vertebrate cholecystokinin (CCK), which is critical for many mammalian social behaviors. knockdown significantly increased social isolation-induced aggression. Genetic activation or silencing of neurons each similarly increased isolation-driven aggression. Our results suggest a U-shaped dependence of social isolation-induced aggressive behavior on signaling, similar to the actions of many neuromodulators in other contexts.

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    11/12/19 | Biosensors show the pharmacokinetics of S-Ketamine in the endoplasmic reticulum.
    Bera K, Kamajaya A, Shivange AV, Muthusamy AK, Nichols AL, Borden PM, Grant S, Jeon J, Lin E, Bishara I, Chin TM, Cohen BN, Kim CH, Unger EK, Tian L, Marvin JS, Looger LL, Lester HA
    Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience. 2019 Nov 12;13:499. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2019.00499

    The target for the "rapid" (<24 h) antidepressant effects of S-ketamine is unknown, vitiating programs to rationally develop more effective rapid antidepressants. To describe a drug's target, one must first understand the compartments entered by the drug, at all levels-the organ, the cell, and the organelle. We have, therefore, developed molecular tools to measure the subcellular, organellar pharmacokinetics of S-ketamine. The tools are genetically encoded intensity-based S-ketamine-sensing fluorescent reporters, iSKetSnFR1 and iSKetSnFR2. In solution, these biosensors respond to S-ketamine with a sensitivity, S-slope = delta(F/F)/(delta[S-ketamine]) of 0.23 and 1.9/μM, respectively. The iSKetSnFR2 construct allows measurements at <0.3 μM S-ketamine. The iSKetSnFR1 and iSKetSnFR2 biosensors display >100-fold selectivity over other ligands tested, including R-ketamine. We targeted each of the sensors to either the plasma membrane (PM) or the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Measurements on these biosensors expressed in Neuro2a cells and in human dopaminergic neurons differentiated from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) show that S-ketamine enters the ER within a few seconds after appearing in the external solution near the PM, then leaves as rapidly after S-ketamine is removed from the extracellular solution. In cells, S-slopes for the ER and PM-targeted sensors differ by <2-fold, indicating that the ER [S-ketamine] is less than 2-fold different from the extracellular [S-ketamine]. Organelles represent potential compartments for the engagement of S-ketamine with its antidepressant target, and potential S-ketamine targets include organellar ion channels, receptors, and transporters.

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