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36 Janelia Publications

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    03/09/18 | NeuroStorm: accelerating brain science discovery in the cloud.
    Kiar G, Anderson RJ, Baden A, Badea A, Bridgeford EW, Champion A, Chandrashekar J, Collman F, Duderstadt B, Evans AC, Engert F, Falk B, Glatard T, Roncal WG, Kennedy DN, Maitlin-Shepard , Marren RA, Nnaemeka O, Perlman E, Seshamani S
    arXiv. 2018 Mar 09:

    Neuroscientists are now able to acquire data at staggering rates across spatiotemporal scales. However, our ability to capitalize on existing datasets, tools, and intellectual capacities is hampered by technical challenges. The key barriers to accelerating scientific discovery correspond to the FAIR data principles: findability, global access to data, software interoperability, and reproducibility/re-usability. We conducted a hackathon dedicated to making strides in those steps. This manuscript is a technical report summarizing these achievements, and we hope serves as an example of the effectiveness of focused, deliberate hackathons towards the advancement of our quickly-evolving field.

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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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    12/20/17 | Advances in Neural Engineering for Rehabilitation.
    Hu X, Zhao T, Yao J, Kuang Y, Yang Y
    Behavioural Neurology. 2017;2017:9240921. doi: 10.1155/2017/9240921
    11/03/17 | Topological and modality-specific representation of somatosensory information in the fly brain.
    Tsubouchi A, Yano T, Yokoyama TK, Murtin C, Otsuna H, Ito K
    Science (New York, N.Y.). 2017 11 03;358(6363):615-623. doi: 10.1126/science.aan4428

    Insects and mammals share similarities of neural organization underlying the perception of odors, taste, vision, sound, and gravity. We observed that insect somatosensation also corresponds to that of mammals. In Drosophila, the projections of all the somatosensory neuron types to the insect's equivalent of the spinal cord segregated into modality-specific layers comparable to those in mammals. Some sensory neurons innervate the ventral brain directly to form modality-specific and topological somatosensory maps. Ascending interneurons with dendrites in matching layers of the nerve cord send axons that converge to respective brain regions. Pathways arising from leg somatosensory neurons encode distinct qualities of leg movement information and play different roles in ground detection. Establishment of the ground pattern and genetic tools for neuronal manipulation should provide the basis for elucidating the mechanisms underlying somatosensation.

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    08/29/17 | Experimental and statistical reevaluation provides no evidence for Drosophila courtship song rhythms.
    Stern DL, Clemens J, Coen P, Calhoun AJ, Hogenesch JB, Arthur BJ, Murthy M
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2017 Aug 29:. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1707471114

    From 1980 to 1992, a series of influential papers reported on the discovery, genetics, and evolution of a periodic cycling of the interval between Drosophila male courtship song pulses. The molecular mechanisms underlying this periodicity were never described. To reinitiate investigation of this phenomenon, we previously performed automated segmentation of songs but failed to detect the proposed rhythm [Arthur BJ, et al. (2013) BMC Biol 11:11; Stern DL (2014) BMC Biol 12:38]. Kyriacou et al. [Kyriacou CP, et al. (2017) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 114:1970-1975] report that we failed to detect song rhythms because (i) our flies did not sing enough and (ii) our segmenter did not identify many of the song pulses. Kyriacou et al. manually annotated a subset of our recordings and reported that two strains displayed rhythms with genotype-specific periodicity, in agreement with their original reports. We cannot replicate this finding and show that the manually annotated data, the original automatically segmented data, and a new dataset provide no evidence for either the existence of song rhythms or song periodicity differences between genotypes. Furthermore, we have reexamined our methods and analysis and find that our automated segmentation method was not biased to prevent detection of putative song periodicity. We conclude that there is no evidence for the existence of Drosophila courtship song rhythms.

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    07/25/17 | Experience-dependent shaping of hippocampal CA1 intracellular activity in novel and familiar environments.
    Cohen JD, Bolstad M, Lee AK
    eLife. 2017 Jul 25;6:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.23040

    The hippocampus is critical for producing stable representations of familiar spaces. How these representations arise is poorly understood, largely because changes to hippocampal inputs have not been measured during spatial learning. Here, using intracellular recording, we monitored inputs and plasticity-inducing complex spikes (CSs) in CA1 neurons while mice explored novel and familiar virtual environments. Inputs driving place field spiking increased in amplitude - often suddenly - during novel environment exploration. However, these increases were not sustained in familiar environments. Rather, the spatial tuning of inputs became increasingly similar across repeated traversals of the environment with experience - both within fields and throughout the whole environment. In novel environments, CSs were not necessary for place field formation. Our findings support a model in which initial inhomogeneities in inputs are amplified to produce robust place field activity, then plasticity refines this representation into one with less strongly modulated, but more stable, inputs for long-term storage.

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    07/18/17 | A connectome of a learning and memory center in the adult Drosophila brain.
    Takemura S, Aso Y, Hige T, Wong AM, Lu Z, Xu CS, Rivlin PK, Hess HF, Zhao T, Parag T, Berg S, Huang G, Katz WT, Olbris DJ, Plaza SM, Umayam LA, Aniceto R, Chang L, Lauchie S, et al
    eLife. 2017 Jul 18;6:e26975. doi: 10.7554/eLife.26975

    Understanding memory formation, storage and retrieval requires knowledge of the underlying neuronal circuits. In Drosophila, the mushroom body (MB) is the major site of associative learning. We reconstructed the morphologies and synaptic connections of all 983 neurons within the three functional units, or compartments, that compose the adult MB’s α lobe, using a dataset of isotropic 8-nm voxels collected by focused ion-beam milling scanning electron microscopy. We found that Kenyon cells (KCs), whose sparse activity encodes sensory information, each make multiple en passant synapses to MB output neurons (MBONs) in each compartment. Some MBONs have inputs from all KCs, while others differentially sample sensory modalities. Only six percent of KC>MBON synapses receive a direct synapse from a dopaminergic neuron (DAN). We identified two unanticipated classes of synapses, KC>DAN and DAN>MBON. DAN activation produces a slow depolarization of the MBON in these DAN>MBON synapses and can weaken memory recall.

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    07/13/17 | Mapping the neural substrates of behavior.
    Robie AA, Hirokawa J, Edwards AW, Umayam LA, Lee A, Phillips ML, Card GM, Korff W, Rubin GM, Simpson JH, Reiser MB, Branson KM
    Cell. 2017-07-13;170(2):393-406. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.06.032

    Assigning behavioral functions to neural structures has long been a central goal in neuroscience and is a necessary first step toward a circuit-level understanding of how the brain generates behavior. Here, we map the neural substrates of locomotion and social behaviors for Drosophila melanogaster using automated machine-vision and machine-learning techniques. From videos of 400,000 flies, we quantified the behavioral effects of activating 2,204 genetically targeted populations of neurons. We combined a novel quantification of anatomy with our behavioral analysis to create brain-behavior correlation maps, which are shared as browsable web pages and interactive software. Based on these maps, we generated hypotheses of regions of the brain causally related to sensory processing, locomotor control, courtship, aggression, and sleep. Our maps directly specify genetic tools to target these regions, which we used to identify a small population of neurons with a role in the control of walking.

    •We developed machine-vision methods to broadly and precisely quantify fly behavior•We measured effects of activating 2,204 genetically targeted neuronal populations•We created whole-brain maps of neural substrates of locomotor and social behaviors•We created resources for exploring our results and enabling further investigation

    Machine-vision analyses of large behavior and neuroanatomy data reveal whole-brain maps of regions associated with numerous complex behaviors.

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    06/13/17 | A complete electron microscopy volume of the brain of adult Drosophila melanogaster.
    Yang Z, Lauritzen JS, Perlman E, Robinson CG, Nichols M, Milkie DE, Torrens O, Price J, Fisher CB, Sharifi N, Calle-Schuler SA, Kmecova L, Ali IJ, Karsh B, Trautman ET, Bogovic JA, Hanslovsky P, Jefferis GS, Kazhdan M, Khairy K
    bioRxiv. 2017 Jun 13:. doi: 10.1101/140905

    Drosophila melanogaster has a rich repertoire of innate and learned behaviors. Its 100,000-neuron brain is a large but tractable target for comprehensive neural circuit mapping. Only electron microscopy (EM) enables complete, unbiased mapping of synaptic connectivity; however, the fly brain is too large for conventional EM. We developed a custom high-throughput EM platform and imaged the entire brain of an adult female fly. We validated the dataset by tracing brain-spanning circuitry involving the mushroom body (MB), intensively studied for its role in learning. Here we describe the complete set of olfactory inputs to the MB; find a new cell type providing driving input to Kenyon cells (the intrinsic MB neurons); identify neurons postsynaptic to Kenyon cell dendrites; and find that axonal arbors providing input to the MB calyx are more tightly clustered than previously indicated by light-level data. This freely available EM dataset will significantly accelerate Drosophila neuroscience.

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    04/10/17 | Stem cell-intrinsic, seven-up-triggered temporal factor gradients diversify intermediate neural progenitors.
    Ren Q, Yang C, Liu Z, Sugino K, Mok K, He Y, Ito M, Nern A, Otsuna H, Lee T
    Current Biology : CB. 2017 Apr 10:. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.03.047

    Building a sizable, complex brain requires both cellular expansion and diversification. One mechanism to achieve these goals is production of multiple transiently amplifying intermediate neural progenitors (INPs) from a single neural stem cell. Like mammalian neural stem cells, Drosophila type II neuroblasts utilize INPs to produce neurons and glia. Within a given lineage, the consecutively born INPs produce morphologically distinct progeny, presumably due to differential inheritance of temporal factors. To uncover the underlying temporal fating mechanisms, we profiled type II neuroblasts' transcriptome across time. Our results reveal opposing temporal gradients of Imp and Syp RNA-binding proteins (descending and ascending, respectively). Maintaining high Imp throughout serial INP production expands the number of neurons and glia with early temporal fate at the expense of cells with late fate. Conversely, precocious upregulation of Syp reduces the number of cells with early fate. Furthermore, we reveal that the transcription factor Seven-up initiates progression of the Imp/Syp gradients. Interestingly, neuroblasts that maintain initial Imp/Syp levels can still yield progeny with a small range of early fates. We therefore propose that the Seven-up-initiated Imp/Syp gradients create coarse temporal windows within type II neuroblasts to pattern INPs, which subsequently undergo fine-tuned subtemporal patterning.

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