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26 Janelia Publications

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    The palette of tools for stimulation and regulation of neural activity is continually expanding. One of the new methods being introduced is magnetogenetics, where mechano-sensitive and thermo-sensitive ion channels are genetically engineered to be closely coupled to the iron-storage protein ferritin. Such genetic constructs could provide a powerful new way of non-invasively activating ion channels in-vivo using external magnetic fields that easily penetrate biological tissue. Initial reports that introduced this new technology have sparked a vigorous debate on the plausibility of physical mechanisms of ion channel activation by means of external magnetic fields. I argue that the initial criticisms leveled against magnetogenetics as being physically implausible were possibly based on the overly simplistic and unnecessarily pessimistic assumptions about the magnetic spin configurations of iron in ferritin protein. Additionally, all the possible magnetic-field-based mechanisms of ion channel activation in magnetogenetics might not have been fully considered. I present and propose several new magneto-mechanical and magneto-thermal mechanisms of ion channel activation by iron-loaded ferritin protein that may elucidate and clarify some of the mysteries that presently challenge our understanding of the reported biological experiments. Finally, I present some additional puzzles that will require further theoretical and experimental investigation.

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    07/29/19 | Kilohertz frame-rate two-photon tomography.
    Kazemipour A, Novak O, Flickinger D, Marvin JS, Abdelfattah AS, King J, Borden P, Kim J, Al-Abdullatif S, Deal P, Miller E, Schreiter E, Druckmann S, Svoboda K, Looger L, Podgorski K
    Nature Methods. 2019 Jul 29;16(8):778-86. doi: 10.1101/357269

    Point-scanning two-photon microscopy enables high-resolution imaging within scattering specimens such as the mammalian brain, but sequential acquisition of voxels fundamentally limits imaging speed. We developed a two-photon imaging technique that scans lines of excitation across a focal plane at multiple angles and uses prior information to recover high-resolution images at over 1.4 billion voxels per second. Using a structural image as a prior for recording neural activity, we imaged visually-evoked and spontaneous glutamate release across hundreds of dendritic spines in mice at depths over 250 microns and frame-rates over 1 kHz. Dendritic glutamate transients in anaesthetized mice are synchronized within spatially-contiguous domains spanning tens of microns at frequencies ranging from 1-100 Hz. We demonstrate high-speed recording of acetylcholine and calcium sensors, 3D single-particle tracking, and imaging in densely-labeled cortex. Our method surpasses limits on the speed of raster-scanned imaging imposed by fluorescence lifetime.

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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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    04/25/19 | Parametric amplification of reversible transverse susceptibility in single domain magnetic nanoparticles.
    El Bidweihy H, Smith RD, Barbic M
    AIP Advances. 2019 Apr 25;9:045031. doi: 10.1063/1.5079980

    We propose, model, and experimentally demonstrate the enhancement of reversible transverse susceptibility in single domain magnetic nanoparticles through the principle of parametric amplification. It has previously been demonstrated that properly oriented anisotropic single domain magnetic nanoparticles have an appreciable peak in transverse susceptibility at the particle anisotropy field. Here we show theoretically and experimentally that an additional parametric AC magnetic field applied at a proper phase and at twice the frequency (2f) of the transverse field further enhances transverse susceptibility peaks through the process of parametric amplification. We model this effect numerically and describe it through the energy formalism of the single magnetic domain Stoner-Wohlfarth model. The proper phase relationships of the transverse and parametric fields to obtain either parametric amplification or attenuation of the transverse susceptibility signals are also described. We experimentally demonstrate such parametric tuning of transverse susceptibility in single domain magnetic nanoparticles of a commercial audio tape in a prototypical inductive transverse susceptibility set-up.

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    04/01/19 | Multimodal in vivo brain electrophysiology with integrated glass microelectrodes.
    Hunt DL, Lai C, Smith RD, Lee AK, Harris TD, Barbic M
    Nature Biomedical Engineering. 2019 Apr 01;3(9):741-53. doi: 10.1038/s41551-019-0373-8

    Electrophysiology is the most used approach for the collection of functional data in basic and translational neuroscience, but it is typically limited to either intracellular or extracellular recordings. The integration of multiple physiological modalities for the routine acquisition of multimodal data with microelectrodes could be useful for biomedical applications, yet this has been challenging owing to incompatibilities of fabrication methods. Here, we present a suite of glass pipettes with integrated microelectrodes for the simultaneous acquisition of multimodal intracellular and extracellular information in vivo, electrochemistry assessments, and optogenetic perturbations of neural activity. We used the integrated devices to acquire multimodal signals from the CA1 region of the hippocampus in mice and rats, and show that these data can serve as ground-truth validation for the performance of spike-sorting algorithms. The microdevices are applicable for basic and translational neurobiology, and for the development of next-generation brain-machine interfaces.

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    11/25/18 | Magnetocaloric materials as switchable high contrast ratio MRI labels.
    Barbic M, Dodd SJ, Morris HD, Dilley N, Marcheschi B, Huston A, Harris TD, Koretsky AP
    Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. 2018 Nov 25;81(4):2238-46. doi: 10.1002/mrm.27615

    PURPOSE: To develop switchable and tunable labels with high contrast ratio for MRI using magnetocaloric materials that have sharp first-order magnetic phase transitions at physiological temperatures and typical MRI magnetic field strengths.

    METHODS: A prototypical magnetocaloric material iron-rhodium (FeRh) was prepared by melt mixing, high-temperature annealing, and ice-water quenching. Temperature- and magnetic field-dependent magnetization measurements of wire-cut FeRh samples were performed on a vibrating sample magnetometer. Temperature-dependent MRI of FeRh samples was performed on a 4.7T MRI.

    RESULTS: Temperature-dependent MRI clearly demonstrated image contrast changes due to the sharp magnetic state transition of the FeRh samples in the MRI magnetic field (4.7T) and at a physiologically relevant temperature (~37°C).

    CONCLUSION: A magnetocaloric material, FeRh, was demonstrated to act as a high contrast ratio switchable MRI contrast agent due to its sharp first-order magnetic phase transition in the DC magnetic field of MRI and at physiologically relevant temperatures. A wide range of magnetocaloric materials are available that can be tuned by materials science techniques to optimize their response under MRI-appropriate conditions and be controllably switched in situ with temperature, magnetic field, or a combination of both.

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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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    03/26/18 | Photoactivatable drugs for nicotinic optopharmacology.
    Banala S, Arvin MC, Bannon NM, Jin X, Macklin JJ, Wang Y, Peng C, Zhao G, Marshall JJ, Gee KR, Wokosin DL, Kim VJ, McIntosh JM, Contractor A, Lester HA, Kozorovitskiy Y, Drenan RM, Lavis LD
    Nature Methods. 2018 Mar 26;15(5):347-50. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.4637

    Photoactivatable pharmacological agents have revolutionized neuroscience, but the palette of available compounds is limited. We describe a general method for caging tertiary amines by using a stable quaternary ammonium linkage that elicits a red shift in the activation wavelength. We prepared a photoactivatable nicotine (PA-Nic), uncageable via one- or two-photon excitation, that is useful to study nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in different experimental preparations and spatiotemporal scales.

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    01/16/18 | A genetically encoded Ca2+ indicator based on circularly permutated sea anemone red fluorescent protein eqFP578.
    Shen Y, Dana H, Abdelfattah AS, Patel R, Shea J, Molina RS, Rawal B, Rancic V, Chang Y, Wu L, Chen Y, Qian Y, Wiens MD, Hambleton N, Ballanyi K, Hughes TE, Drobizhev M, Kim DS, Koyama M, Schreiter ER, Campbell RE
    BMC Biology. 2018 Jan 16;16(1):9. doi: 10.1186/s12915-018-0480-0

    BACKGROUND: Genetically encoded calcium ion (Ca2+) indicators (GECIs) are indispensable tools for measuring Ca2+ dynamics and neuronal activities in vitro and in vivo. Red fluorescent protein (RFP)-based GECIs have inherent advantages relative to green fluorescent protein-based GECIs due to the longer wavelength light used for excitation. Longer wavelength light is associated with decreased phototoxicity and deeper penetration through tissue. Red GECI can also enable multicolor visualization with blue- or cyan-excitable fluorophores.

    RESULTS: Here we report the development, structure, and validation of a new RFP-based GECI, K-GECO1, based on a circularly permutated RFP derived from the sea anemone Entacmaea quadricolor. We have characterized the performance of K-GECO1 in cultured HeLa cells, dissociated neurons, stem-cell-derived cardiomyocytes, organotypic brain slices, zebrafish spinal cord in vivo, and mouse brain in vivo.

    CONCLUSION: K-GECO1 is the archetype of a new lineage of GECIs based on the RFP eqFP578 scaffold. It offers high sensitivity and fast kinetics, similar or better than those of current state-of-the-art indicators, with diminished lysosomal accumulation and minimal blue-light photoactivation. Further refinements of the K-GECO1 lineage could lead to further improved variants with overall performance that exceeds that of the most highly optimized red GECIs.

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    06/14/16 | A large field of view two-photon mesoscope with subcellular resolution for in vivo imaging.
    Sofroniew NJ, Flickinger D, King J, Svoboda K
    eLife. 2016 Jun 14;5:e14472. doi: 10.7554/eLife.14472

    Imaging is used to map activity across populations of neurons. Microscopes with cellular resolution have small (<1 millimeter) fields of view and cannot simultaneously image activity distributed across multiple brain areas. Typical large field of view microscopes do not resolve single cells, especially in the axial dimension. We developed a 2-photon random access mesoscope (2p-RAM) that allows high-resolution imaging anywhere within a volume spanning multiple brain areas (∅ 5 mm x 1 mm cylinder). 2p-RAM resolution is near diffraction limited (lateral, 0.66 μm, axial 4.09 μm at the center; excitation wavelength = 970 nm; numerical aperture = 0.6) over a large range of excitation wavelengths. A fast three-dimensional scanning system allows efficient sampling of neural activity in arbitrary regions of interest across the entire imaging volume. We illustrate the use of the 2p-RAM by imaging neural activity in multiple, non-contiguous brain areas in transgenic mice expressing protein calcium sensors.

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