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2 Janelia Publications

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    09/28/21 | A serotonergic axon-cilium synapse drives nuclear signaling to maintain chromatin accessibility
    Shu-Hsien Sheu , Srigokul Upadhyayula , Vincent Dupuy , Song Pang , Andrew L. Lemire , Deepika Walpita , H. Amalia Pasolli , Fei Deng , Jinxia Wan , Lihua Wang , Justin Houser , Silvia Sanchez-Martinez , Sebastian E. Brauchi , Sambashiva Banala , Melanie Freeman , C. Shan Xu , Tom Kirchhausen , Harald F. Hess , Luke Lavis , Yu-Long Li , Séverine Chaumont-Dubel , David E. Clapham
    bioRxiv. 2021 Sep 28:

    Chemical synapses between axons and dendrites mediate much of the brain’s intercellular communication. Here we describe a new kind of synapse – the axo-ciliary synapse - between axons and primary cilia. By employing enhanced focused ion beam – scanning electron microscopy on samples with optimally preserved ultrastructure, we discovered synapses between the serotonergic axons arising from the brainstem, and the primary cilia of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons. Functionally, these cilia are enriched in a ciliary-restricted serotonin receptor, 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 6 (HTR6), whose mutation is associated with learning and memory defects. Using a newly developed cilia-targeted serotonin sensor, we show that optogenetic stimulation of serotonergic axons results in serotonin release onto cilia. Ciliary HTR6 stimulation activates a non-canonical Gαq/11-RhoA pathway. Ablation of this pathway results in nuclear actin and chromatin accessibility changes in CA1 pyramidal neurons. Axo-ciliary synapses serve as a distinct mechanism for neuromodulators to program neuron transcription through privileged access to the nuclear compartment.

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    02/14/21 | Recording Electrical Currents across the Plasma Membrane of Mammalian Sperm Cells.
    Liu B, Mundt N, Miller M, Clapham DE, Kirichok Y, Lishko PV
    Journal of Visualized Experiments: JOVE. 2021 Feb 14(168):. doi: 10.3791/62049

    Recording of the electrical activity from one of the smallest cells of a mammalian organism- a sperm cell- has been a challenging task for electrophysiologists for many decades. The method known as "spermatozoan patch clamp" was introduced in 2006. It has enabled the direct recording of ion channel activity in whole-cell and cell-attached configurations and has been instrumental in describing sperm cell physiology and the molecular identity of various calcium, potassium, sodium, chloride, and proton ion channels. However, recording from single spermatozoa requires advanced skills and training in electrophysiology. This detailed protocol summarizes the step-by-step procedure and highlights several 'tricks-of-the-trade' in order to make it available to anyone who wishes to explore the fascinating physiology of the sperm cell. Specifically, the protocol describes recording from human and murine sperm cells but can be adapted to essentially any mammalian sperm cell of any species. The protocol covers important details of the application of this technique, such as isolation of sperm cells, selection of reagents and equipment, immobilization of the highly motile cells, formation of the tight (Gigaohm) seal between a recording electrode and the plasma membrane of the sperm cells, transition into the whole-spermatozoan mode (also known as break-in), and exemplary recordings of the sperm cell calcium ion channel, CatSper, from six mammalian species. The advantages and limitations of the sperm patch clamp method, as well as the most critical steps, are discussed.

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