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2477 Janelia Publications

Showing 11-20 of 2477 results
05/07/24 | Fast, Accurate, and Versatile Data Analysis Platform for the Quantification of Molecular Spatiotemporal Signals
Xuelong Mi , Alex Bo-Yuan Chen , Daniela Duarte , Erin Carey , Charlotte R. Taylor , Philipp N. Braaker , Mark Bright , Rafael G. Almeida , Jing-Xuan Lim , Virginia M. Rutten , Wei Zheng , Mengfan Wang , Michael E. Reitman , Yizhi Wang , Kira E. Poskanzer , David A. Lyons , Axel Nimmerjahn , Misha B. Ahrens , Guoqiang Yu
bioRxiv. 2024 May 07:. doi: 10.1101/2024.05.02.592259

Optical recording of intricate molecular dynamics is becoming an indispensable technique for biological studies, accelerated by the development of new or improved biosensors and microscopy technology. This creates major computational challenges to extract and quantify biologically meaningful patterns embedded within complex and rich data sources. Here, we introduce Activity Quantification and Analysis (AQuA2), a fast, accurate and versatile data analysis platform built upon advanced machine learning techniques. It decomposes complex live imaging-based datasets into elementary signaling events, allowing accurate and unbiased quantification of molecular activities and identification of consensus functional units. We demonstrate applications across a range of biosensors (calcium, norepinephrine, ATP, acetylcholine, dopamine), cell types (astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, microglia, neurons), organs (brains and spinal cords), animal models (zebrafish and mouse), and imaging modalities (confocal, two-photon, light sheet). As exemplar findings, we show how AQuA2 identified drug-dependent interactions between neurons and astroglia, and distinct sensorimotor signal propagation patterns in the mouse spinal cord.

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05/07/24 | Live-cell single-molecule fluorescence microscopy for protruding organelles reveals regulatory mechanisms of MYO7A-driven cargo transport in stereocilia of inner ear hair cells
Takushi Miyoshi , Harshad D Vishwasrao , Inna A Belyantseva , Mrudhula Sajeevadathan , Yasuko Ishibashi , Samuel M Adadey , Narinobu Harada , Hari Shroff , Thomas B Friedman
bioRxiv. 2024 May 07:. doi: 10.1101/2024.05.04.590649

Stereocilia are unidirectional F-actin-based cylindrical protrusions on the apical surface of inner ear hair cells and function as biological mechanosensors of sound and acceleration. Development of functional stereocilia requires motor activities of unconventional myosins to transport proteins necessary for elongating the F-actin cores and to assemble the mechanoelectrical transduction (MET) channel complex. However, how each myosin localizes in stereocilia using the energy from ATP hydrolysis is only partially understood. In this study, we develop a methodology for live-cell single-molecule fluorescence microscopy of organelles protruding from the apical surface using a dual-view light-sheet microscope, diSPIM. We demonstrate that MYO7A, a component of the MET machinery, traffics as a dimer in stereocilia. Movements of MYO7A are restricted when scaffolded by the plasma membrane and F-actin as mediated by MYO7A’s interacting partners. Here, we discuss the technical details of our methodology and its future applications including analyses of cargo transportation in various organelles.

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05/09/24 | Neurotransmitter classification from electron microscopy images at synaptic sites in Drosophila melanogaster
Eckstein N, Bates AS, Champion A, Du M, Yin Y, Schlegel P, Lu AK, Rymer T, Finley-May S, Paterson T, Parekh R, Dorkenwald S, Matsliah A, Yu S, McKellar C, Sterling A, Eichler K, Costa M, Seung S, Murthy M, Hartenstein V, Jefferis GS, Funke J
Cell. 2024 May 09;187(10):2574-2594.e23. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2024.03.016

High-resolution electron microscopy of nervous systems has enabled the reconstruction of synaptic connectomes. However, we do not know the synaptic sign for each connection (i.e., whether a connection is excitatory or inhibitory), which is implied by the released transmitter. We demonstrate that artificial neural networks can predict transmitter types for presynapses from electron micrographs: a network trained to predict six transmitters (acetylcholine, glutamate, GABA, serotonin, dopamine, octopamine) achieves an accuracy of 87% for individual synapses, 94% for neurons, and 91% for known cell types across a D. melanogaster whole brain. We visualize the ultrastructural features used for prediction, discovering subtle but significant differences between transmitter phenotypes. We also analyze transmitter distributions across the brain and find that neurons that develop together largely express only one fast-acting transmitter (acetylcholine, glutamate, or GABA). We hope that our publicly available predictions act as an accelerant for neuroscientific hypothesis generation for the fly.

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05/07/24 | Salivary Gland Tissue Recombination Can Modify Cell Fate
Sekiguchi R, Martin D, Doyle AD, Wang S, Genomics and Computational Biology Core , Yamada KM
J Dent Res. 2024 May 07:220345241247484. doi: 10.1177/00220345241247484

Although mesenchyme is essential for inducing the epithelium of ectodermal organs, its precise role in organ-specific epithelial fate determination remains poorly understood. To elucidate the roles of tissue interactions in cellular differentiation, we performed single-cell RNA sequencing and imaging analyses on recombined tissues, where mesenchyme and epithelium were switched ex vivo between two types of embryonic mouse salivary glands: the parotid gland (a serous gland) and the submandibular gland (a predominantly mucous gland). We found partial induction of molecules that define gland-specific acinar and myoepithelial cells in recombined salivary epithelium. The parotid epithelium recombined with submandibular mesenchyme began to express mucous acinar genes not intrinsic to the parotid gland. While myoepithelial cells do not normally line parotid acini, newly induced myoepithelial cells densely populated recombined parotid acini. However, mucous acinar and myoepithelial markers continued to be expressed in submandibular epithelial cells recombined with parotid mesenchyme. Consequently, some epithelial cells appeared to be plastic, such that their fate could still be modified in response to mesenchymal signaling, whereas other epithelial cells appeared to be already committed to a specific fate. We also discovered evidence for bidirectional induction: transcriptional changes were observed not only in the epithelium but also in the mesenchyme after heterotypic tissue recombination. For example, parotid epithelium induced the expression of muscle-related genes in submandibular fibroblasts that began to mimic parotid fibroblast gene expression. These studies provide the first comprehensive unbiased molecular characterization of tissue recombination approaches exploring the regulation of cell fate.

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05/05/24 | Statistical signature of subtle behavioural changes in large-scale behavioural assays
Alexandre Blanc , François Laurent , Alex Barbier–Chebbah , Benjamin T. Cocanougher , Benjamin M.W. Jones , Peter Hague , Marta Zlatic , Rayan Chikhi , Christian L. Vestergaard , Tihana Jovanic , Jean-Baptiste Masson , Chloé Barré
bioRxiv. 2024 May 5:. doi: 10.1101/2024.05.03.591825

The central nervous system can generate various behaviours, including motor responses, which we can observe through video recordings. Recent advancements in genetics, automated behavioural acquisition at scale, and machine learning enable us to link behaviours to their underlying neural mechanisms causally. Moreover, in some animals, such as the Drosophila larva, this mapping is possible at unprecedented scales of millions of animals and single neurons, allowing us to identify the neural circuits generating particular behaviours.These high-throughput screening efforts are invaluable, linking the activation or suppression of specific neurons to behavioural patterns in millions of animals. This provides a rich dataset to explore how diverse nervous system responses can be to the same stimuli. However, challenges remain in identifying subtle behaviours from these large datasets, including immediate and delayed responses to neural activation or suppression, and understanding these behaviours on a large scale. We introduce several statistically robust methods for analyzing behavioural data in response to these challenges: 1) A generative physical model that regularizes the inference of larval shapes across the entire dataset. 2) An unsupervised kernel-based method for statistical testing in learned behavioural spaces aimed at detecting subtle deviations in behaviour. 3) A generative model for larval behavioural sequences, providing a benchmark for identifying complex behavioural changes. 4) A comprehensive analysis technique using suffix trees to categorize genetic lines into clusters based on common action sequences. We showcase these methodologies through a behavioural screen focused on responses to an air puff, analyzing data from 280,716 larvae across 568 genetic lines.Author Summary There is a significant gap in understanding between the architecture of neural circuits and the mechanisms of action selection and behaviour generation.Drosophila larvae have emerged as an ideal platform for simultaneously probing behaviour and the underlying neuronal computation [1]. Modern genetic tools allow efficient activation or silencing of individual and small groups of neurons. Combining these techniques with standardized stimuli over thousands of individuals makes it possible to relate neurons to behaviour causally. However, extracting these relationships from massive and noisy recordings requires the development of new statistically robust approaches. We introduce a suite of statistical methods that utilize individual behavioural data and the overarching structure of the behavioural screen to deduce subtle behavioural changes from raw data. Given our study’s extensive number of larvae, addressing and preempting potential challenges in body shape recognition is critical for enhancing behaviour detection. To this end, we have adopted a physics-informed inference model. Our first group of techniques enables robust statistical analysis within a learned continuous behaviour latent space, facilitating the detection of subtle behavioural shifts relative to reference genetic lines. A second array of methods probes for subtle variations in action sequences by comparing them to a bespoke generative model. Together, these strategies have enabled us to construct representations of behavioural patterns specific to a lineage and identify a roster of ”hit” neurons with the potential to influence behaviour subtly.

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05/07/24 | YAP condensates are highly organized hubs
Siyuan Hao , Ye Jin Lee , Nadav Benhamou Goldfajn , Eduardo Flores , Jindayi Liang , Hannah Fuehrer , Justin Demmerle , Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz , Zhe Liu , Shahar Sukenik , Danfeng Cai
iScience. 2024 May 07:109927. doi:

YAP/TEAD signaling is essential for organismal development, cell proliferation, and cancer progression. As a transcriptional coactivator, how YAP activates its downstream target genes is incompletely understood. YAP forms biomolecular condensates in response to hyperosmotic stress, concentrating transcription-related factors to activate downstream target genes. However, whether YAP forms condensates under other signals, how YAP condensates organize and function, and how YAP condensates activate transcription in general are unknown. Here, we report that endogenous YAP forms sub-micron scale condensates in response to Hippo pathway regulation and actin cytoskeletal tension. YAP condensates are stabilized by the transcription factor TEAD1, and recruit BRD4, a coactivator that is enriched at active enhancers. Using single-particle tracking, we found that YAP condensates slowed YAP diffusion within condensate boundaries, a possible mechanism for promoting YAP target search. These results reveal that YAP condensate formation is a highly regulated process that is critical for YAP/TEAD target gene expression.

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05/01/24 | A survival-critical role for Drosophila giant interneurons during predation
Cynthia M. Chai , Carmen Morrow , Dhyey D. Parikh , Catherine R. von Reyn , Anthony Leonardo , Gwyneth M Card
bioRxiv. 2024 May 1:. doi: 10.1101/2024.04.30.591368

Large axon-diameter descending neurons are metabolically costly but transmit information rapidly from sensory neurons in the brain to motor neurons in the nerve cord. They have thus endured as a common feature of escape circuits in many animal species where speed is paramount. Though often considered isolated command neurons triggering fast-reaction-time, all-or-none escape responses, giant neurons are just one of multiple parallel pathways enabling selection between behavioral alternatives. Such degeneracy among escape circuits makes it unclear if and how giant neurons benefit prey fitness. Here we competed Drosophila melanogaster flies with genetically-silenced Giant Fibers (GFs) against flies with functional GFs in an arena with wild-caught damselfly predators and find that GF silencing decreases prey survival. Kinematic analysis of damselfly attack trajectories shows that decreased prey survival fitness results from GF-silenced flies failing to escape during predator attack speeds and approach distances that would normally elicit successful escapes. When challenged with a virtual looming predator, fly GFs promote survival by enforcing selection of a short-duration takeoff sequence as opposed to reducing reaction time. Our findings support a role for the GFs in promoting prey survival by influencing action selection as a means to enhance escape performance during realistically complex predation scenarios.

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04/25/24 | Connectomic Analysis of Mitochondria in the Central Brain of Drosophila
Patricia K Rivlin , Michal Januszewski , Kit D Longden , Erika Neace , Louis K Scheffer , Christopher Ordish , Jody Clements , Elliott Phillips , Natalie Smith , Satoko Takemura , Lowell Umayam , Claire Walsh , Emily A Yakal , Stephen M Plaza , Stuart Berg
bioRxiv. 2024 Apr 25:. doi: 10.1101/2024.04.21.590464

Mitochondria are an integral part of the metabolism of a neuron. EM images of fly brain volumes, taken for connectomics, contain mitochondria as well as the cells and synapses that have already been reported. Here, from the Drosophila hemibrain dataset, we extract, classify, and measure approximately 6 million mitochondria among roughly 21 thousand neurons of more than 5500 cell types. Each mitochondrion is classified by its appearance - dark and dense, light and sparse, or intermediate - and the location, orientation, and size (in voxels) are annotated. These mitochondria are added to our publicly available data portal, and each synapse is linked to its closest mitochondrion. Using this data, we show quantitative evidence that mitochodrial trafficing extends to the smallest dimensions in neurons. The most basic characteristics of mitochondria - volume, distance from synapses, and color - vary considerably between cell types, and between neurons with different neurotransmitters. We find that polyadic synapses with more post-synaptic densities (PSDs) have closer and larger mitochondria on the pre-synaptic side, but smaller and more distant mitochondria on the PSD side. We note that this relationship breaks down for synapses with only one PSD, suggesting a different role for such synapses.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.

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04/25/24 | Expansion of in vitro Toxoplasma gondii cysts using enzymatically enhanced ultrastructure expansion microscopy
Kseniia Bondarenko , Floriane Limoge , Kayvon Pedram , Mathieu Gissot , Joanna C. Young
bioRxiv. 2024 Apr 25:. doi: 10.1101/2024.04.24.590991

Expansion microscopy (ExM) is an innovative approach to achieve super-resolution images without using super-resolution microscopes, based on the physical expansion of the sample. The advent of ExM has unlocked super-resolution imaging for a broader scientific circle, lowering the cost and entry skill requirements to the field. One of its branches, ultrastructure ExM (U-ExM), has become popular among research groups studying Apicomplexan parasites, including the acute stage of Toxoplasma gondii infection. The chronic cyst-forming stage of Toxoplasma, however, resists U-ExM expansion, impeding precise protein localisation. Here, we solve the in vitro cyst’s resistance to denaturation required for successful U-ExM of the encapsulated parasites. As the cyst’s main structural protein CST1 contains a mucin domain, we added an enzymatic digestion step using the pan-mucinase StcE prior to the expansion protocol. This allowed full expansion of the cysts in fibroblasts and primary neuronal cell culture without interference with the epitopes of the cyst-wall associated proteins. Using StcE-enhanced U-ExM, we clarified the shape and location of the GRA2 protein important for establishing a normal cyst. Expanded cysts revealed GRA2 granules spanning across the cyst wall, with a notable presence observed outside on both sides of the CST1-positive layer.

Importance Toxoplasma gondii is an intracellular parasite capable of establishing long-term chronic infection in nearly all warm-blooded animals. During the chronic stage, parasites encapsulate into cysts in a wide range of tissues but particularly in neurons of the central nervous system and in skeletal muscle. Current anti-Toxoplasma drugs do not eradicate chronic parasites and leave behind a reservoir of infection. As the cyst is critical for both transmission and pathology of the disease, we need to understand more fully the biology of the cyst and its vulnerabilities.

The advent of a new super-resolution approach called ultrastructure expansion microscopy allowed in-depth studies of the acute stage of Toxoplasma infection but not the cyst-forming stage, which resists protocol-specific denaturation. Here, we show that an additional step of enzymatic digestion using mucinase StcE allows full expansion of the Toxoplasma cysts, offering a new avenue for a comprehensive examination of the chronic stage of infection using an accessible super-resolution technique.

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04/17/24 | Machine learning reveals the control mechanics of an insect wing hinge
Melis JM, Siwanowicz I, Dickinson MH
Nature. 2024 Apr 17;628(8009):795-803. doi: 10.1038/s41586-024-07293-4

Insects constitute the most species-rich radiation of metazoa, a success that is due to the evolution of active flight. Unlike pterosaurs, birds and bats, the wings of insects did not evolve from legs, but are novel structures that are attached to the body via a biomechanically complex hinge that transforms tiny, high-frequency oscillations of specialized power muscles into the sweeping back-and-forth motion of the wings. The hinge consists of a system of tiny, hardened structures called sclerites that are interconnected to one another via flexible joints and regulated by the activity of specialized control muscles. Here we imaged the activity of these muscles in a fly using a genetically encoded calcium indicator, while simultaneously tracking the three-dimensional motion of the wings with high-speed cameras. Using machine learning, we created a convolutional neural network that accurately predicts wing motion from the activity of the steering muscles, and an encoder-decoder that predicts the role of the individual sclerites on wing motion. By replaying patterns of wing motion on a dynamically scaled robotic fly, we quantified the effects of steering muscle activity on aerodynamic forces. A physics-based simulation incorporating our hinge model generates flight manoeuvres that are remarkably similar to those of free-flying flies. This integrative, multi-disciplinary approach reveals the mechanical control logic of the insect wing hinge, arguably among the most sophisticated and evolutionarily important skeletal structures in the natural world.

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