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1366 Janelia Publications

Showing 11-20 of 1366 results
05/20/18 | Imaging mRNA in vivo, from birth to death.
Tutucci E, Livingston NM, Singer RH, Wu B
Annual Review of Biophysics. 2018 May 20;47:85-106. doi: 10.1146/annurev-biophys-070317-033037

RNA is the fundamental information transfer system in the cell. The ability to follow single messenger RNAs (mRNAs) from transcription to degradation with fluorescent probes gives quantitative information about how the information is transferred from DNA to proteins. This review focuses on the latest technological developments in the field of single-mRNA detection and their usage to study gene expression in both fixed and live cells. By describing the application of these imaging tools, we follow the journey of mRNA from transcription to decay in single cells, with single-molecule resolution. We review current theoretical models for describing transcription and translation that were generated by single-molecule and single-cell studies. These methods provide a basis to study how single-molecule interactions generate phenotypes, fundamentally changing our understating of gene expression regulation.

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05/20/18 | Of what use is connectomics? A personal perspective on the connectome.
Meinertzhagen IA
The Journal of Experimental Biology. 2018 May 20;221(Pt 10):. doi: 10.1242/jeb.164954

The brain is a network of neurons and its biological output is behaviour. This is an exciting age, with a growing acknowledgement that the comprehensive compilation of synaptic circuits densely reconstructed in the brains of model species is now both technologically feasible and a scientifically enabling possibility in neurobiology, much as 30 years ago genomics was in molecular biology and genetics. Implemented by huge advances in electron microscope technology, especially focused ion beam-scanning electron microscope (FIB-SEM) milling (see Glossary), image capture and alignment, and computer-aided reconstruction of neuron morphologies, enormous progress has been made in the last decade in the detailed knowledge of the actual synaptic circuits formed by real neurons, in various brain regions of the fly It is useful to distinguish synaptic pathways that are major, with 100 or more presynaptic contacts, from those that are minor, with fewer than about 10; most neurites are both presynaptic and postsynaptic, and all synaptic sites have multiple postsynaptic dendrites. Work on has spearheaded these advances because cell numbers are manageable, and neuron classes are morphologically discrete and genetically identifiable, many confirmed by reporters. Recent advances are destined within the next few years to reveal the complete connectome in an adult fly, paralleling advances in the larval brain that offer the same prospect possibly within an even shorter time frame. The final amendment and validation of segmented bodies by human proof-readers remains the most time-consuming step, however. The value of a complete connectome in is that, by targeting to specific neurons transgenes that either silence or activate morphologically identified circuits, and then identifying the resulting behavioural outcome, we can determine the causal mechanism for behaviour from its loss or gain. More importantly, the connectome reveals hitherto unsuspected pathways, leading us to seek novel behaviours for these. Circuit information will eventually be required to understand how differences between brains underlie differences in behaviour, and especially to herald yet more advanced connectomic strategies for the vertebrate brain, with an eventual prospect of understanding cognitive disorders having a connectomic basis. Connectomes also help us to identify common synaptic circuits in different species and thus to reveal an evolutionary progression in candidate pathways.

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05/15/18 | Lineage-guided Notch-dependent gliogenesis by multi-potent progenitors.
Ren Q, Awasaki T, Wang Y, Huang Y, Lee T
Development (Cambridge, England). 2018 May 15:. doi: 10.1242/dev.160127

Macroglial cells in the central nervous system exhibit regional specialization and carry out region-specific functions. Diverse glial cells arise from specific progenitors in specific spatiotemporal patterns. This raises an interesting possibility that there exist glial precursors with distinct developmental fates, which govern region-specific gliogenesis. Here we mapped the glial progeny produced by the type II neuroblasts, which, like vertebrate radial glia cells, yield both neurons and glia via intermediate neural progenitors (INPs). Distinct type II neuroblasts produce different characteristic sets of glia. A single INP can make both astrocyte-like and ensheathing glia, which co-occupy a relatively restrictive subdomain. Blocking apoptosis uncovers further lineage distinctions in the specification, proliferation, and survival of glial precursors. Both the switch from neurogenesis to gliogenesis and the subsequent glial expansion depend on Notch signaling. Taken together, lineage origins preconfigure the development of individual glial precursors with involvement of serial Notch actions in promoting gliogenesis.

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05/15/18 | Reinforcement signaling of punishment versus relief in fruit flies.
König C, Khalili A, Ganesan M, Nishu AP, Garza AP, Niewalda T, Gerber B, Aso Y, Yarali A
Learning & Memory (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.). 2018 Jun;25(6):247-257. doi: 10.1101/lm.047308.118

Painful events establish opponent memories: cues that precede pain are remembered negatively, whereas cues that follow pain, thus coinciding with relief are recalled positively. How do individual reinforcement-signaling neurons contribute to this "timing-dependent valence-reversal?" We addressed this question using an optogenetic approach in the fruit fly. Two types of fly dopaminergic neuron, each comprising just one paired cell, indeed established learned avoidance of odors that preceded their photostimulation during training, and learned approach to odors that followed the photostimulation. This is in striking parallel to punishment versus relief memories reinforced by a real noxious event. For only one of these neuron types, both effects were strong enough for further analyses. Notably, interfering with dopamine biosynthesis in these neurons partially impaired the punishing effect, but not the relieving after-effect of their photostimulation. We discuss how this finding constraints existing computational models of punishment versus relief memories and introduce a new model, which also incorporates findings from mammals. Furthermore, whether using dopaminergic neuron photostimulation or a real noxious event, more prolonged punishment led to stronger relief. This parametric feature of relief may also apply to other animals and may explain particular aspects of related behavioral dysfunction in humans.

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05/10/18 | Single molecule fate of HIV-1 envelope reveals late-stage viral lattice incorporation.
Buttler CA, Pezeshkian N, Fernandez MV, Aaron J, Norman S, Freed EO, Van Engelenburg SB
Nature Communications. 2018 May 10;9(1):1861. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-04220-w

Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) assembly occurs on the inner leaflet of the host cell plasma membrane, incorporating the essential viral envelope glycoprotein (Env) within a budding lattice of HIV-1 Gag structural proteins. The mechanism by which Env incorporates into viral particles remains poorly understood. To determine the mechanism of recruitment of Env to assembly sites, we interrogate the subviral angular distribution of Env on cell-associated virus using multicolor, three-dimensional (3D) superresolution microscopy. We demonstrate that, in a manner dependent on cell type and on the long cytoplasmic tail of Env, the distribution of Env is biased toward the necks of cell-associated particles. We postulate that this neck-biased distribution is regulated by vesicular retention and steric complementarity of Env during independent Gag lattice formation.

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05/09/18 | Color depth MIP mask search: a new tool to expedite Split-GAL4 creation.
Otsuna H, Ito M, Kawase T
bioRxiv. 2018 May 09:. doi: 10.1101/318006

The GAL4-UAS system has proven its versatility in studying the function and expression patterns of neurons the Drosophila central nervous system. Although the GAL4 system has been used for 25 years, recent genetic intersectional tools have enabled genetic targeting of very small numbers of neurons aiding in the understanding of their function. This split-GAL4 system is extremely powerful for studying neuronal morphology and the neural basis of animal behavior. However, choosing lines to intersect that have overlapping patterns restricted to one to a few neurons has been cumbersome. This challenge is now growing as the collections of GAL4 driver lines has increased. Here we present a new method and software plug-in for Fiji to dramatically improve the speed of querying large databases of potential lines to intersect and aid in the split-GAL4 creation. We also provide pre-computed datasets for the Janelia GAL4 (5,738 lines) and VT GAL4 (7,429 lines) of the Drosophila central nervous system (CNS). The tool reduced our split-GAL4 creation effort dramatically.

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05/07/18 | Ejaculation induced by the activation of Crz neurons is rewarding to Drosophila males.
Zer-Krispil S, Zak H, Shao L, Ben-Shaanan S, Tordjman L, Bentzur A, Shmueli A, Shohat-Ophir G
Current Biology : CB. 2018 May 07;28(9):1445-1452.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.03.039

The reward system is a collection of circuits that reinforce behaviors necessary for survival [1, 2]. Given the importance of reproduction for survival, actions that promote successful mating induce pleasurable feeling and are positively reinforced [3, 4]. This principle is conserved in Drosophila, where successful copulation is naturally rewarding to male flies, induces long-term appetitive memories [5], increases brain levels of neuropeptide F (NPF, the fly homolog of neuropeptide Y), and prevents ethanol, known otherwise as rewarding to flies [6, 7], from being rewarding [5]. It is not clear which of the multiple sensory and motor responses performed during mating induces perception of reward. Sexual interactions with female flies that do not reach copulation are not sufficient to reduce ethanol consumption [5], suggesting that only successful mating encounters are rewarding. Here, we uncoupled the initial steps of mating from its final steps and tested the ability of ejaculation to mimic the rewarding value of full copulation. We induced ejaculation by activating neurons that express the neuropeptide corazonin (CRZ) [8] and subsequently measured different aspects of reward. We show that activating Crz-expressing neurons is rewarding to male flies, as they choose to reside in a zone that triggers optogenetic stimulation of Crz neurons and display conditioned preference for an odor paired with the activation. Reminiscent of successful mating, repeated activation of Crz neurons increases npf levels and reduces ethanol consumption. Our results demonstrate that ejaculation stimulated by Crz/Crz-receptor signaling serves as an essential part of the mating reward mechanism in Drosophila. VIDEO ABSTRACT.

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05/07/18 | Synaptic cleft segmentation in non-isotropic volume electron microscopy of the complete Drosophila brain.
Heinrich L, Funke J, Pape C, Nunez-Iglesias J, Saalfeld S
arXiv. 2018 May 07:1805.02718

Neural circuit reconstruction at single synapse resolution is increasingly recognized as crucially important to decipher the function of biological nervous systems. Volume electron microscopy in serial transmission or scanning mode has been demonstrated to provide the necessary resolution to segment or trace all neurites and to annotate all synaptic connections. 
Automatic annotation of synaptic connections has been done successfully in near isotropic electron microscopy of vertebrate model organisms. Results on non-isotropic data in insect models, however, are not yet on par with human annotation. 
We designed a new 3D-U-Net architecture to optimally represent isotropic fields of view in non-isotropic data. We used regression on a signed distance transform of manually annotated synaptic clefts of the CREMI challenge dataset to train this model and observed significant improvement over the state of the art. 
We developed open source software for optimized parallel prediction on very large volumetric datasets and applied our model to predict synaptic clefts in a 50 tera-voxels dataset of the complete Drosophila brain. Our model generalizes well to areas far away from where training data was available.

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Druckmann Lab
05/04/18 | Schaffer collateral inputs to CA1 excitatory and inhibitory neurons follow different connectivity rules.
Kwon O, Feng L, Druckmann S, Kim J
The Journal of Neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2018 May 04:. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0155-18.2018

Neural circuits, governed by a complex interplay between excitatory and inhibitory neurons, are the substrate for information processing, and the organization of synaptic connectivity in neural network is an important determinant of circuit function. Here, we analyzed the fine structure of connectivity in hippocampal CA1 excitatory and inhibitory neurons innervated by Schaffer collaterals (SCs) using mGRASP in male mice. Our previous study revealed spatially structured synaptic connectivity between CA3-CA1 pyramidal cells (PCs). Surprisingly, parvalbumin-positive interneurons (PVs) showed a significantly more random pattern spatial structure. Notably, application of Peters' Rule for synapse prediction by random overlap between axons and dendrites enhanced structured connectivity in PCs, but, by contrast, made the connectivity pattern in PVs more random. In addition, PCs in a deep sublayer of striatum pyramidale appeared more highly structured than PCs in superficial layers, and little or no sublayer specificity was found in PVs. Our results show that CA1 excitatory PCs and inhibitory PVs innervated by the same SC inputs follow different connectivity rules. The different organizations of fine scale structured connectivity in hippocampal excitatory and inhibitory neurons provide important insights into the development and functions of neural networks.Understanding how neural circuits generate behavior is one of the central goals of neuroscience. An important component of this endeavor is the mapping of fine-scale connection patterns that underlie, and help us infer, signal processing in the brain. Here, using our recently developed synapse detection technology (mGRASP and neuTube), we provide detailed profiles of synaptic connectivity in excitatory (CA1 pyramidal) and inhibitory (CA1 parvalbumin-positive) neurons innervated by the same presynaptic inputs (CA3 Schaffer collaterals). Our results reveal that these two types of CA1 neurons follow different connectivity patterns. Our new evidence for differently structured connectivity at a fine scale in hippocampal excitatory and inhibitory neurons provides a better understanding of hippocampal networks and will guide theoretical and experimental studies.

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04/30/18 | Atomic resolution cryo-EM structure of β-galactosidase.
Bartesaghi A, Aguerrebere C, Falconieri V, Banerjee S, Earl LA, Zhu X, Grigorieff N, Milne JL, Sapiro G, Wu X, Subramaniam S
Structure (London, England : 1993). 2018 Apr 30;26(6):848. doi: 10.1016/j.str.2018.04.004

The advent of direct electron detectors has enabled the routine use of single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (EM) approaches to determine structures of a variety of protein complexes at near-atomic resolution. Here, we report the development of methods to account for local variations in defocus and beam-induced drift, and the implementation of a data-driven dose compensation scheme that significantly improves the extraction of high-resolution information recorded during exposure of the specimen to the electron beam. These advances enable determination of a cryo-EM density map for β-galactosidase bound to the inhibitor phenylethyl β-D-thiogalactopyranoside where the ordered regions are resolved at a level of detail seen in X-ray maps at ∼ 1.5 Å resolution. Using this density map in conjunction with constrained molecular dynamics simulations provides a measure of the local flexibility of the non-covalently bound inhibitor and offers further opportunities for structure-guided inhibitor design.

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