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1661 Janelia Publications

Showing 1631-1640 of 1661 results
Ji LabMagee LabBetzig Lab
02/01/08 | High-speed, low-photodamage nonlinear imaging using passive pulse splitters. (With commentary)
Ji N, Magee JC, Betzig E
Nature Methods. 2008 Feb;5(2):197-202. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1175

Pulsed lasers are key elements in nonlinear bioimaging techniques such as two-photon fluorescence excitation (TPE) microscopy. Typically, however, only a percent or less of the laser power available can be delivered to the sample before photoinduced damage becomes excessive. Here we describe a passive pulse splitter that converts each laser pulse into a fixed number of sub-pulses of equal energy. We applied the splitter to TPE imaging of fixed mouse brain slices labeled with GFP and show that, in different power regimes, the splitter can be used either to increase the signal rate more than 100-fold or to reduce the rate of photobleaching by over fourfold. In living specimens, the gains were even greater: a ninefold reduction in photobleaching during in vivo imaging of Caenorhabditis elegans larvae, and a six- to 20-fold decrease in the rate of photodamage during calcium imaging of rat hippocampal brain slices.

Commentary: Na Ji came to me early in her postdoc with an idea to reduce photodamage in nonlinear microscopy by splitting the pulses from an ultrafast laser into multiple subpulses of reduced energy. In six weeks, we constructed a prototype pulse splitter and obtained initial results confirming the validity of her vision. Further experiments with Jeff Magee demonstrated that the splitter could be used to increase imaging speed or reduce photodamage in two photon microscopy by one to two orders of magnitude. This project is a great example of how quickly one can react and exploit new ideas in the Janelia environment.

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01/15/08 | Straightening caenorhabditis elegans images.
Peng H, Long F, Liu X, Kim SK, Myers EW
Bioinformatics. 2008 Jan 15;24:234-42. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btm569

MOTIVATION: Caenorhabditis elegans, a roundworm found in soil, is a widely studied model organism with about 1000 cells in the adult. Producing high-resolution fluorescence images of C.elegans to reveal biological insights is becoming routine, motivating the development of advanced computational tools for analyzing the resulting image stacks. For example, worm bodies usually curve significantly in images. Thus one must ’straighten’ the worms if they are to be compared under a canonical coordinate system. RESULTS: We develop a worm straightening algorithm (WSA) that restacks cutting planes orthogonal to a ’backbone’ that models the anterior-posterior axis of the worm. We formulate the backbone as a parametric cubic spline defined by a series of control points. We develop two methods for automatically determining the locations of the control points. Our experimental methods show that our approaches effectively straighten both 2D and 3D worm images.

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01/03/08 | Sparse optical microstimulation in barrel cortex drives learned behaviour in freely moving mice.
Huber D, Petreanu L, Ghitani N, Ranade S, Hromádka T, Mainen Z, Svoboda K
Nature. 2008 Jan 3;451(7174):61-4. doi: 10.1038/nature06445

Electrical microstimulation can establish causal links between the activity of groups of neurons and perceptual and cognitive functions. However, the number and identities of neurons microstimulated, as well as the number of action potentials evoked, are difficult to ascertain. To address these issues we introduced the light-gated algal channel channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) specifically into a small fraction of layer 2/3 neurons of the mouse primary somatosensory cortex. ChR2 photostimulation in vivo reliably generated stimulus-locked action potentials at frequencies up to 50 Hz. Here we show that naive mice readily learned to detect brief trains of action potentials (five light pulses, 1 ms, 20 Hz). After training, mice could detect a photostimulus firing a single action potential in approximately 300 neurons. Even fewer neurons (approximately 60) were required for longer stimuli (five action potentials, 250 ms). Our results show that perceptual decisions and learning can be driven by extremely brief epochs of cortical activity in a sparse subset of supragranular cortical pyramidal neurons.

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01/01/08 | Automatic Segmentation of the Pelvic Bones from CT Data Based on a Statistical Shape Model
Kainmueller D, Seim H, Heller M, Lamecker H, Zachow S, Hege H

We present an algorithm for automatic segmentation of the human pelvic bones from CT datasets that is based on the application of a statistical shape model. The proposed method is divided into three steps: 1) The averaged shape of the pelvis model is initially placed within the CT data using the Generalized Hough Transform, 2) the statistical shape model is then adapted to the image data by a transformation and variation of its shape modes, and 3) a final free-form deformation step based on optimal graph searching is applied to overcome the restrictive character of the statistical shape representation. We thoroughly evaluated the method on 50 manually segmented CT datasets by performing a leave-one-out study. The Generalized Hough Transform proved to be a reliable method for an automatic initial placement of the shape model within the CT data. Compared to the manual gold standard segmentations, our automatic segmentation approach produced an average surface distance of 1.2 ± 0.3mm after the adaptation of the statistical shape model, which could be reduced to 0.7±0.3mm using a final free-form deformation step. Together with an average segmentation time of less than 5 minutes, the results of our study indicate that our method meets the requirements of clinical routine.

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01/01/08 | Genetically encoded fluorescent sensors for studying healthy and diseased nervous systems.
Tian L, Looger LL
Drug Discovery Today. Disease Models. 2008;5(1):27-35. doi: 10.1016/j.ddmod.2008.07.003

Neurons and glia are functionally organized into circuits and higher-order structures via synaptic connectivity, well-orchestrated molecular signaling, and activity-dependent refinement. Such organization allows the precise information processing required for complex behaviors. Disruption of nervous systems by genetic deficiency or events such as trauma or environmental exposure may produce a diseased state in which certain aspects of inter-neuron signaling are impaired. Optical imaging techniques allow the direct visualization of individual neurons in a circuit environment. Imaging probes specific for given biomolecules may help elucidate their contribution to proper circuit function. Genetically encoded sensors can visualize trafficking of particular molecules in defined neuronal populations, non-invasively in intact brain or reduced preparations. Sensor analysis in healthy and diseased brains may reveal important differences and shed light on the development and progression of nervous system disorders. We review the field of genetically encoded sensors for molecules and cellular events, and their potential applicability to the study of nervous system disease.

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01/01/08 | The Pfam protein families database.
Finn RD, Tate J, Mistry J, Coggill PC, Sammut SJ, Hotz H, Ceric G, Forslund K, Eddy SR, Sonnhammer EL, Bateman A
Nucleic Acids Research. 2008 Jan;36(Database Issue):D281-8. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkm960

Pfam is a comprehensive collection of protein domains and families, represented as multiple sequence alignments and as profile hidden Markov models. The current release of Pfam (22.0) contains 9318 protein families. Pfam is now based not only on the UniProtKB sequence database, but also on NCBI GenPept and on sequences from selected metagenomics projects. Pfam is available on the web from the consortium members using a new, consistent and improved website design in the UK (, the USA ( and Sweden (, as well as from mirror sites in France ( and South Korea (

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01/01/08 | Vector and parameters for targeted transgenic RNA interference in Drosophila melanogaster.
Ni J, Markstein M, Binari R, Pfeiffer B, Liu L, Villalta C, Booker M, Perkins L, Perrimon N
Nature Methods. 2008 Jan;5(1):49-51. doi: 10.1038/nmeth1146

The conditional expression of hairpin constructs in Drosophila melanogaster has emerged in recent years as a method of choice in functional genomic studies. To date, upstream activating site-driven RNA interference constructs have been inserted into the genome randomly using P-element-mediated transformation, which can result in false negatives due to variable expression. To avoid this problem, we have developed a transgenic RNA interference vector based on the phiC31 site-specific integration method.

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12/20/07 | Locally dynamic synaptic learning rules in pyramidal neuron dendrites.
Harvey CD, Svoboda K
Nature. 2007 Dec 20;450(7173):1195-200. doi: 10.1038/nature06416

Long-term potentiation (LTP) of synaptic transmission underlies aspects of learning and memory. LTP is input-specific at the level of individual synapses, but neural network models predict interactions between plasticity at nearby synapses. Here we show in mouse hippocampal pyramidal cells that LTP at individual synapses reduces the threshold for potentiation at neighbouring synapses. After input-specific LTP induction by two-photon glutamate uncaging or by synaptic stimulation, subthreshold stimuli, which by themselves were too weak to trigger LTP, caused robust LTP and spine enlargement at neighbouring spines. Furthermore, LTP induction broadened the presynaptic-postsynaptic spike interval for spike-timing-dependent LTP within a dendritic neighbourhood. The reduction in the threshold for LTP induction lasted approximately 10 min and spread over approximately 10 microm of dendrite. These local interactions between neighbouring synapses support clustered plasticity models of memory storage and could allow for the binding of behaviourally linked information on the same dendritic branch.

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12/18/07 | Dual-color superresolution imaging of genetically expressed probes within individual adhesion complexes. (With commentary)
Shroff H, Galbraith CG, Galbraith JA, White H, Gillette J, Olenych S, Davidson MW, Betzig E
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2007 Dec 18;104:20308-13. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0710517105

Accurate determination of the relative positions of proteins within localized regions of the cell is essential for understanding their biological function. Although fluorescent fusion proteins are targeted with molecular precision, the position of these genetically expressed reporters is usually known only to the resolution of conventional optics ( approximately 200 nm). Here, we report the use of two-color photoactivated localization microscopy (PALM) to determine the ultrastructural relationship between different proteins fused to spectrally distinct photoactivatable fluorescent proteins (PA-FPs). The nonperturbative incorporation of these endogenous tags facilitates an imaging resolution in whole, fixed cells of approximately 20-30 nm at acquisition times of 5-30 min. We apply the technique to image different pairs of proteins assembled in adhesion complexes, the central attachment points between the cytoskeleton and the substrate in migrating cells. For several pairs, we find that proteins that seem colocalized when viewed by conventional optics are resolved as distinct interlocking nano-aggregates when imaged via PALM. The simplicity, minimal invasiveness, resolution, and speed of the technique all suggest its potential to directly visualize molecular interactions within cellular structures at the nanometer scale.

Commentary: Identifies the photoactivatable fluorescent proteins (PA-FPs) Dronpa and PS-CFP2 as green partners to orange-red PA-FPs such as Kaede and Eos for dual color PALM imaging. Very low crosstalk is demonstrated between the two color channels. Furthermore, since the probes are genetically expressed, they are closely bound to their target proteins and exhibit zero non-specific background. All these properties are essential to unambiguously identify regions of co-localization or separate compartmentalization at the nanoscale, as demonstrated in the examples here.

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12/03/07 | Coincidence detection of place and temporal context in a network model of spiking hippocampal neurons.
Katz Y, Kath WL, Spruston N, Hasselmo ME
PLoS Computational Biology. 2007 Dec;3(12):e234. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.0030234

Recent advances in single-neuron biophysics have enhanced our understanding of information processing on the cellular level, but how the detailed properties of individual neurons give rise to large-scale behavior remains unclear. Here, we present a model of the hippocampal network based on observed biophysical properties of hippocampal and entorhinal cortical neurons. We assembled our model to simulate spatial alternation, a task that requires memory of the previous path through the environment for correct selection of the current path to a reward site. The convergence of inputs from entorhinal cortex and hippocampal region CA3 onto CA1 pyramidal cells make them potentially important for integrating information about place and temporal context on the network level. Our model shows how place and temporal context information might be combined in CA1 pyramidal neurons to give rise to splitter cells, which fire selectively based on a combination of place and temporal context. The model leads to a number of experimentally testable predictions that may lead to a better understanding of the biophysical basis of information processing in the hippocampus.

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