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1885 Janelia Publications

Showing 1831-1840 of 1885 results
10/13/08 | Fast monte carlo simulation methods for biological reaction-diffusion systems in solution and on surfaces.
Kerr RA, Bartol TM, Kaminsky B, Dittrich M, Chang JJ, Baden SB, Sejnowski TJ, Stiles JR
SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing: A Publication of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. 2008 Oct 13;30(6):3126. doi: 10.1137/070692017

Many important physiological processes operate at time and space scales far beyond those accessible to atom-realistic simulations, and yet discrete stochastic rather than continuum methods may best represent finite numbers of molecules interacting in complex cellular spaces. We describe and validate new tools and algorithms developed for a new version of the MCell simulation program (MCell3), which supports generalized Monte Carlo modeling of diffusion and chemical reaction in solution, on surfaces representing membranes, and combinations thereof. A new syntax for describing the spatial directionality of surface reactions is introduced, along with optimizations and algorithms that can substantially reduce computational costs (e.g., event scheduling, variable time and space steps). Examples for simple reactions in simple spaces are validated by comparison to analytic solutions. Thus we show how spatially realistic Monte Carlo simulations of biological systems can be far more cost-effective than often is assumed, and provide a level of accuracy and insight beyond that of continuum methods.

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Eddy/Rivas Lab
09/19/08 | Probabilistic phylogenetic inference with insertions and deletions.
Rivas E, Sean R. Eddy
PLoS Computational Biology. 2008 Sep 19;4(9):e1000172. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000172

A fundamental task in sequence analysis is to calculate the probability of a multiple alignment given a phylogenetic tree relating the sequences and an evolutionary model describing how sequences change over time. However, the most widely used phylogenetic models only account for residue substitution events. We describe a probabilistic model of a multiple sequence alignment that accounts for insertion and deletion events in addition to substitutions, given a phylogenetic tree, using a rate matrix augmented by the gap character. Starting from a continuous Markov process, we construct a non-reversible generative (birth-death) evolutionary model for insertions and deletions. The model assumes that insertion and deletion events occur one residue at a time. We apply this model to phylogenetic tree inference by extending the program dnaml in phylip. Using standard benchmarking methods on simulated data and a new "concordance test" benchmark on real ribosomal RNA alignments, we show that the extended program dnamlepsilon improves accuracy relative to the usual approach of ignoring gaps, while retaining the computational efficiency of the Felsenstein peeling algorithm.

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09/01/08 | Bioimage informatics: a new area of engineering biology.
Peng H
Bioinformatics. 2008 Sep 1;24(17):1827-36. doi: 10.1007/s12021-010-9090-x

In recent years, the deluge of complicated molecular and cellular microscopic images creates compelling challenges for the image computing community. There has been an increasing focus on developing novel image processing, data mining, database and visualization techniques to extract, compare, search and manage the biological knowledge in these data-intensive problems. This emerging new area of bioinformatics can be called ’bioimage informatics’. This article reviews the advances of this field from several aspects, including applications, key techniques, available tools and resources. Application examples such as high-throughput/high-content phenotyping and atlas building for model organisms demonstrate the importance of bioimage informatics. The essential techniques to the success of these applications, such as bioimage feature identification, segmentation and tracking, registration, annotation, mining, image data management and visualization, are further summarized, along with a brief overview of the available bioimage databases, analysis tools and other resources.

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Truman LabRiddiford Lab
08/22/08 | Developmental model of static allometry in holometabolous insects.
Shingleton AW, Mirth CK, Bates PW
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 2008 Aug 22;275(1645):1875-85. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2008.0227

The regulation of static allometry is a fundamental developmental process, yet little is understood of the mechanisms that ensure organs scale correctly across a range of body sizes. Recent studies have revealed the physiological and genetic mechanisms that control nutritional variation in the final body and organ size in holometabolous insects. The implications these mechanisms have for the regulation of static allometry is, however, unknown. Here, we formulate a mathematical description of the nutritional control of body and organ size in Drosophila melanogaster and use it to explore how the developmental regulators of size influence static allometry. The model suggests that the slope of nutritional static allometries, the ’allometric coefficient’, is controlled by the relative sensitivity of an organ’s growth rate to changes in nutrition, and the relative duration of development when nutrition affects an organ’s final size. The model also predicts that, in order to maintain correct scaling, sensitivity to changes in nutrition varies among organs, and within organs through time. We present experimental data that support these predictions. By revealing how specific physiological and genetic regulators of size influence allometry, the model serves to identify developmental processes upon which evolution may act to alter scaling relationships.

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Magee Lab
08/15/08 | Altered synaptic and non-synaptic properties of CA1 pyramidal neurons in Kv4.2 knockout mice.
Andrásfalvy BK, Makara JK, Johnston D, J.C. Magee
The Journal of Physiology. 2008 Aug 15;586(16):3881-92. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2008.154336

Back-propagating action potentials (bAPs) travelling from the soma to the dendrites of neurons are involved in various aspects of synaptic plasticity. The distance-dependent increase in Kv4.2-mediated A-type K(+) current along the apical dendrites of CA1 pyramidal cells (CA1 PCs) is responsible for the attenuation of bAP amplitude with distance from the soma. Genetic deletion of Kv4.2 reduced dendritic A-type K(+) current and increased the bAP amplitude in distal dendrites. Our previous studies revealed that the amplitude of unitary Schaffer collateral inputs increases with distance from the soma along the apical dendrites of CA1 PCs. We tested the hypothesis that the weight of distal synapses is dependent on dendritic Kv4.2 channels. We compared the amplitude and kinetics of mEPSCs at different locations on the main apical trunk of CA1 PCs from wild-type (WT) and Kv4.2 knockout (KO) mice. While wild-type mice showed normal distance-dependent scaling, it was missing in the Kv4.2 KO mice. We also tested whether there was an increase in inhibition in the Kv4.2 knockout, induced in an attempt to compensate for a non-specific increase in neuronal excitability (after-polarization duration and burst firing probability were increased in KO). Indeed, we found that the magnitude of the tonic GABA current increased in Kv4.2 KO mice by 53% and the amplitude of mIPSCs increased by 25%, as recorded at the soma. Our results suggest important roles for the dendritic K(+) channels in distance-dependent adjustment of synaptic strength as well as a primary role for tonic inhibition in the regulation of global synaptic strength and membrane excitability.

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08/06/08 | Reporting neural activity with genetically encoded calcium indicators.
Hires SA, Tian L, Looger LL
Brain Cell Biology. 2008 Aug 6;36(1-4):69-86. doi: 10.1007/s11068-008-9029-4

Genetically encoded calcium indicators (GECIs), based on recombinant fluorescent proteins, have been engineered to observe calcium transients in living cells and organisms. Through observation of calcium, these indicators also report neural activity. We review progress in GECI construction and application, particularly toward in vivo monitoring of sparse action potentials (APs). We summarize the extrinsic and intrinsic factors that influence GECI performance. A simple model of GECI response to AP firing demonstrates the relative significance of these factors. We recommend a standardized protocol for evaluating GECIs in a physiologically relevant context. A potential method of simultaneous optical control and recording of neuronal circuits is presented.

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07/15/08 | Tools for neuroanatomy and neurogenetics in Drosophila.
Pfeiffer BD, Jenett A, Hammonds AS, Ngo TB, Misra S, Murphy C, Scully A, Carlson JW, Wan KH, Laverty TR, Mungall C, Svirskas R, Kadonaga JT, Doe CQ, Eisen MB, Celniker SE, Rubin GM
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2008 Jul 15;105:9715-20. doi:

We demonstrate the feasibility of generating thousands of transgenic Drosophila melanogaster lines in which the expression of an exogenous gene is reproducibly directed to distinct small subsets of cells in the adult brain. We expect the expression patterns produced by the collection of 5,000 lines that we are currently generating to encompass all neurons in the brain in a variety of intersecting patterns. Overlapping 3-kb DNA fragments from the flanking noncoding and intronic regions of genes thought to have patterned expression in the adult brain were inserted into a defined genomic location by site-specific recombination. These fragments were then assayed for their ability to function as transcriptional enhancers in conjunction with a synthetic core promoter designed to work with a wide variety of enhancer types. An analysis of 44 fragments from four genes found that >80% drive expression patterns in the brain; the observed patterns were, on average, comprised of <100 cells. Our results suggest that the D. melanogaster genome contains >50,000 enhancers and that multiple enhancers drive distinct subsets of expression of a gene in each tissue and developmental stage. We expect that these lines will be valuable tools for neuroanatomy as well as for the elucidation of neuronal circuits and information flow in the fly brain.

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07/09/08 | A FLEX switch targets Channelrhodopsin-2 to multiple cell types for imaging and long-range circuit mapping.
Atasoy D, Aponte Y, Su HH, Sternson SM
The Journal of Neuroscience: The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2008 Jul 9;28(28):7025-30. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1954-08.2008
07/04/08 | The spread of Ras activity triggered by activation of a single dendritic spine.
Harvey CD, Yasuda R, Zhong H, Svoboda K
Science. 2008 Jul 4;321(5885):136-40. doi: 10.1126/science.1159675

In neurons, individual dendritic spines isolate N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor-mediated calcium ion (Ca2+) accumulations from the dendrite and other spines. However, the extent to which spines compartmentalize signaling events downstream of Ca2+ influx is not known. We combined two-photon fluorescence lifetime imaging with two-photon glutamate uncaging to image the activity of the small guanosine triphosphatase Ras after NMDA receptor activation at individual spines. Induction of long-term potentiation (LTP) triggered robust Ca2+-dependent Ras activation in single spines that decayed in approximately 5 minutes. Ras activity spread over approximately 10 micrometers of dendrite and invaded neighboring spines by diffusion. The spread of Ras-dependent signaling was necessary for the local regulation of the threshold for LTP induction. Thus, Ca2+-dependent synaptic signals can spread to couple multiple synapses on short stretches of dendrite.

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07/01/08 | Crystallization and preliminary x-ray characterization of the genetically encoded fluorescent calcium indicator protein GCaMP2.
Rodríguez Guilbe MM, Alfaro Malavé EC, Akerboom J, Marvin JS, Looger LL, Schreiter ER
Acta Crystallographica. Section F, Structural Biology and Crystallization Communications. 2008 Jul 1;64:629-31. doi: 10.1107/S1744309108016059

Fluorescent proteins and their engineered variants have played an important role in the study of biology. The genetically encoded calcium-indicator protein GCaMP2 comprises a circularly permuted fluorescent protein coupled to the calcium-binding protein calmodulin and a calmodulin target peptide, M13, derived from the intracellular calmodulin target myosin light-chain kinase and has been used to image calcium transients in vivo. To aid rational efforts to engineer improved variants of GCaMP2, this protein was crystallized in the calcium-saturated form. X-ray diffraction data were collected to 2.0 A resolution. The crystals belong to space group C2, with unit-cell parameters a = 126.1.

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