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30 Janelia Publications

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    07/10/20 | A general approach to engineer positive-going eFRET voltage indicators
    Abdelfattah AS, Valenti R, Zheng J, Wong A, Podgorski K, Koyama M, Kim DS, Schreiter ER
    Nature Communications. 2020 Jul 10;11(1):

    We engineered electrochromic fluorescence resonance energy transfer (eFRET) genetically encoded voltage indicators (GEVIs) with “positive-going” fluorescence response to membrane depolarization through rational manipulation of the native proton transport pathway in microbial rhodopsins. We transformed the state-of-the-art eFRET GEVI Voltron into Positron, with kinetics and sensitivity equivalent to Voltron but flipped fluorescence signal polarity. We further applied this general approach to GEVIs containing different voltage sensitive rhodopsin domains and various fluorescent dye and fluorescent protein reporters.

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    07/08/20 | Bright and high-performance genetically encoded Ca indicator based on mNeonGreen fluorescent protein.
    Zarowny L, Aggarwal A, Rutten VM, Kolb I, GENIE Project , Patel R, Huang H, Chang Y, Phan T, Kanyo R, Ahrens MB, Allison WT, Podgorski K, Campbell RE
    ACS Sensors. 2020 Jul 08:. doi: 10.1021/acssensors.0c00279

    Genetically encodable calcium ion (Ca) indicators (GECIs) based on green fluorescent proteins (GFP) are powerful tools for imaging of cell signaling and neural activity in model organisms. Following almost 2 decades of steady improvements in the GFP-based GCaMP series of GECIs, the performance of the most recent generation (i.e., jGCaMP7) may have reached its practical limit due to the inherent properties of GFP. In an effort to sustain the steady progression toward ever-improved GECIs, we undertook the development of a new GECI based on the bright monomeric GFP, mNeonGreen (mNG). The resulting indicator, mNG-GECO1, is 60% brighter than GCaMP6s in vitro and provides comparable performance as demonstrated by imaging Ca dynamics in cultured cells, primary neurons, and in vivo in larval zebrafish. These results suggest that mNG-GECO1 is a promising next-generation GECI that could inherit the mantle of GCaMP and allow the steady improvement of GECIs to continue for generations to come.

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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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    02/25/20 | High-throughput cellular-resolution synaptic connectivity mapping in vivo with concurrent two-photon optogenetics and volumetric Ca2+ imaging
    McRaven C, Tanese D, Zhang L, Yang C, Ahrens MB, Emiliani V, Koyama M
    bioRxiv. 2020 Feb 25:. doi:

    The ability to measure synaptic connectivity and properties is essential for understanding neuronal circuits. However, existing methods that allow such measurements at cellular resolution are laborious and technically demanding. Here, we describe a system that allows such measurements in a high-throughput way by combining two-photon optogenetics and volumetric Ca2+ imaging with whole-cell recording. We reveal a circuit motif for generating fast undulatory locomotion in zebrafish.

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    12/01/19 | High-yield, automated intracellular electrophysiology in retinal pigment epithelia.
    Lewallen CF, Wan Q, Maminishkis A, Stoy W, Kolb I, Hotaling N, Bharti K, Forest CR
    Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 2019 Dec 01;328:108442. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2019.108442

    BACKGROUND: Recent advancements with induced pluripotent stem cell-derived (iPSC) retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) have made disease modeling and cell therapy for macular degeneration feasible. However, current techniques for intracellular electrophysiology - used to validate epithelial function - are painstaking and require manual skill; limiting experimental throughput.

    NEW METHOD: A five-stage algorithm, leveraging advances in automated patch clamping, systematically derived and optimized, improves yield and reduces skill when compared to conventional, manual techniques.

    RESULTS: The automated algorithm improves yield per attempt from 17% (manually, n = 23) to 22% (automated, n = 120) (chi-squared, p = 0.004). Specifically for RPE, depressing the local cell membrane by 6 μm and electroporating (buzzing) just prior to this depth (5 μm) maximized yield.

    COMPARISON WITH EXISTING METHOD: Conventionally, intracellular epithelial electrophysiology is performed by manually lowering a pipette with a micromanipulator, blindly, towards a monolayer of cells and spontaneously stopping when the magnitude of the instantaneous measured membrane potential decreased below a predetermined threshold. The new method automatically measures the pipette tip resistance during the descent, detects the cell surface, indents the cell membrane, and briefly buzzes to electroporate the membrane while descending, overall achieving a higher yield than conventional methods.

    CONCLUSIONS: This paper presents an algorithm for high-yield, automated intracellular electrophysiology in epithelia; optimized for human RPE. Automation reduces required user skill and training while, simultaneously, improving yield. This algorithm could enable large-scale exploration of drug toxicity and physiological function verification for numerous kinds of epithelia.

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    04/26/19 | A neural circuit encoding the experience of copulation in female Drosophila.
    Shao L, Chung P, Wong A, Siwanowicz I, Kent CF, Long X, Heberlein U
    Neuron. 2019 Apr 26;102(5):1025. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2019.04.009

    Female behavior changes profoundly after mating. In Drosophila, the mechanisms underlying the long-term changes led by seminal products have been extensively studied. However, the effect of the sensory component of copulation on the female's internal state and behavior remains elusive. We pursued this question by dissociating the effect of coital sensory inputs from those of male ejaculate. We found that the sensory inputs of copulation cause a reduction of post-coital receptivity in females, referred to as the "copulation effect." We identified three layers of a neural circuit underlying this phenomenon. Abdominal neurons expressing the mechanosensory channel Piezo convey the signal of copulation to female-specific ascending neurons, LSANs, in the ventral nerve cord. LSANs relay this information to neurons expressing myoinhibitory peptides in the brain. We hereby provide a neural mechanism by which the experience of copulation facilitates females encoding their mating status, thus adjusting behavior to optimize reproduction.

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    10/25/18 | Improved methods for marking active neuron populations.
    Moeyaert B, Holt G, Madangopal R, Perez-Alvarez A, Fearey BC, Trojanowski NF, Ledderose J, Zolnik TA, Das A, Patel D, Brown TA, Sachdev RN, Eickholt BJ, Larkum ME, Turrigiano GG, Dana H, Gee CE, Oertner TG, Hope BT, Schreiter ER
    Nature Communications. 2018 Oct 25;9(1):4440. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-06935-2

    Marking functionally distinct neuronal ensembles with high spatiotemporal resolution is a key challenge in systems neuroscience. We recently introduced CaMPARI, an engineered fluorescent protein whose green-to-red photoconversion depends on simultaneous light exposure and elevated calcium, which enabled marking active neuronal populations with single-cell and subsecond resolution. However, CaMPARI (CaMPARI1) has several drawbacks, including background photoconversion in low calcium, slow kinetics and reduced fluorescence after chemical fixation. In this work, we develop CaMPARI2, an improved sensor with brighter green and red fluorescence, faster calcium unbinding kinetics and decreased photoconversion in low calcium conditions. We demonstrate the improved performance of CaMPARI2 in mammalian neurons and in vivo in larval zebrafish brain and mouse visual cortex. Additionally, we herein develop an immunohistochemical detection method for specific labeling of the photoconverted red form of CaMPARI. The anti-CaMPARI-red antibody provides strong labeling that is selective for photoconverted CaMPARI in activated neurons in rodent brain tissue.

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    10/11/18 | Thy1 transgenic mice expressing the red fluorescent calcium indicator jRGECO1a for neuronal population imaging in vivo.
    Dana H, Novak O, Guardado-Montesino M, Fransen JW, Hu A, Borghuis BG, Guo C, Kim DS, Svoboda K
    PloS One. 2018;13(10):e0205444. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0205444

    Calcium imaging is commonly used to measure the neural activity of large groups of neurons in mice. Genetically encoded calcium indicators (GECIs) can be delivered for this purpose using non-invasive genetic methods. Compared to viral gene transfer, transgenic targeting of GECIs provides stable long-term expression and obviates the need for invasive viral injections. Transgenic mice expressing the green GECI GCaMP6 are already widely used. Here we present the generation and characterization of transgenic mice expressing the sensitive red GECI jRGECO1a, driven by the Thy1 promoter. Four transgenic lines with different expression patterns showed sufficiently high expression for cellular in vivo imaging. We used two-photon microscopy to characterize visual responses of individual neurons in the visual cortex in vivo. The signal-to-noise ratio in transgenic mice was comparable to, or better than, mice transduced with adeno-associated virus. In addition, we show that Thy1-jRGECO1a transgenic mice are useful for transcranial population imaging and functional mapping using widefield fluorescence microscopy. We also demonstrate imaging of visual responses in retinal ganglion cells in vitro. Thy1-jRGECO1a transgenic mice are therefore a useful addition to the toolbox for imaging activity in intact neural networks.

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    10/03/18 | High-performance GFP-based calcium indicators for imaging activity in neuronal populations and microcompartments.
    Dana H, Sun Y, Mohar B, Hulse B, Hasseman JP, Tsegaye G, Tsang A, Wong A, Patel R, Macklin JJ, Chen Y, Konnerth A, Jayaraman V, Looger LL, Schreiter ER, Svoboda K, Kim DS
    bioRxiv. 2018 Oct 3:. doi: 10.1101/434589

    Calcium imaging with genetically encoded calcium indicators (GECIs) is routinely used to measure neural activity in intact nervous systems. GECIs are frequently used in one of two different modes: to track activity in large populations of neuronal cell bodies, or to follow dynamics in subcellular compartments such as axons, dendrites and individual synaptic compartments. Despite major advances, calcium imaging is still limited by the biophysical properties of existing GECIs, including affinity, signal-to-noise ratio, rise and decay kinetics, and dynamic range. Using structure-guided mutagenesis and neuron-based screening, we optimized the green fluorescent protein-based GECI GCaMP6 for different modes of in vivo imaging. The jGCaMP7 sensors provide improved detection of individual spikes (jGCaMP7s,f), imaging in neurites and neuropil (jGCaMP7b), and tracking large populations of neurons using 2-photon (jGCaMP7s,f) or wide-field (jGCaMP7c) imaging.


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    Ji LabGENIE
    08/20/18 | In vivo measurement of afferent activity with axon-specific calcium imaging.
    Broussard GJ, Liang Y, Fridman M, Unger EK, Meng G, Xiao X, Ji N, Petreanu L, Tian L
    Nature Neuroscience. 2018 Aug 20:. doi: 10.1038/s41593-018-0211-4

    In vivo calcium imaging from axons provides direct interrogation of afferent neural activity, informing the neural representations that a local circuit receives. Unlike in somata and dendrites, axonal recording of neural activity-both electrically and optically-has been difficult to achieve, thus preventing comprehensive understanding of neuronal circuit function. Here we developed an active transportation strategy to enrich GCaMP6, a genetically encoded calcium indicator, uniformly in axons with sufficient brightness, signal-to-noise ratio, and photostability to allow robust, structure-specific imaging of presynaptic activity in awake mice. Axon-targeted GCaMP6 enables frame-to-frame correlation for motion correction in axons and permits subcellular-resolution recording of axonal activity in previously inaccessible deep-brain areas. We used axon-targeted GCaMP6 to record layer-specific local afferents without contamination from somata or from intermingled dendrites in the cortex. We expect that axon-targeted GCaMP6 will facilitate new applications in investigating afferent signals relayed by genetically defined neuronal populations within and across specific brain regions.

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