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1960 Janelia Publications

Showing 81-90 of 1960 results
02/14/21 | Recording Electrical Currents across the Plasma Membrane of Mammalian Sperm Cells.
Liu B, Mundt N, Miller M, Clapham DE, Kirichok Y, Lishko PV
Journal of Visualized Experiments: JOVE. 2021 Feb 14(168):. doi: 10.3791/62049

Recording of the electrical activity from one of the smallest cells of a mammalian organism- a sperm cell- has been a challenging task for electrophysiologists for many decades. The method known as "spermatozoan patch clamp" was introduced in 2006. It has enabled the direct recording of ion channel activity in whole-cell and cell-attached configurations and has been instrumental in describing sperm cell physiology and the molecular identity of various calcium, potassium, sodium, chloride, and proton ion channels. However, recording from single spermatozoa requires advanced skills and training in electrophysiology. This detailed protocol summarizes the step-by-step procedure and highlights several 'tricks-of-the-trade' in order to make it available to anyone who wishes to explore the fascinating physiology of the sperm cell. Specifically, the protocol describes recording from human and murine sperm cells but can be adapted to essentially any mammalian sperm cell of any species. The protocol covers important details of the application of this technique, such as isolation of sperm cells, selection of reagents and equipment, immobilization of the highly motile cells, formation of the tight (Gigaohm) seal between a recording electrode and the plasma membrane of the sperm cells, transition into the whole-spermatozoan mode (also known as break-in), and exemplary recordings of the sperm cell calcium ion channel, CatSper, from six mammalian species. The advantages and limitations of the sperm patch clamp method, as well as the most critical steps, are discussed.

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02/10/21 | Biomolecular Condensates and Their Links to Cancer Progression.
Cai D, Liu Z, Lippincott-Schwartz J
Trends in Biochemical Sciences. 2021 Feb 10:. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2021.01.002

Liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) has emerged in recent years as an important physicochemical process for organizing diverse processes within cells via the formation of membraneless organelles termed biomolecular condensates. Emerging evidence now suggests that the formation and regulation of biomolecular condensates are also intricately linked to cancer formation and progression. We review the most recent literature linking the existence and/or dissolution of biomolecular condensates to different hallmarks of cancer formation and progression. We then discuss the opportunities that this condensate perspective provides for cancer research and the development of novel therapeutic approaches, including the perturbation of condensates by small-molecule inhibitors.

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02/04/20 | Reconstruction of motor control circuits in adult Drosophila using automated transmission electron microscopy
Maniates-Selvin JT, Hildebrand DG, Graham BJ, Kuan AT, Thomas LA, Nguyen T, Buhmann J, Azevedo AW, Shanny BL, Funke J, Tuthill JC, Lee WA
Cell. 2021 Feb 04;184(3):. doi: 10.1101/2020.01.10.902478

Many animals use coordinated limb movements to interact with and navigate through the environment. To investigate circuit mechanisms underlying locomotor behavior, we used serial-section electron microscopy (EM) to map synaptic connectivity within a neuronal network that controls limb movements. We present a synapse-resolution EM dataset containing the ventral nerve cord (VNC) of an adult female Drosophila melanogaster. To generate this dataset, we developed GridTape, a technology that combines automated serial-section collection with automated high-throughput transmission EM. Using this dataset, we reconstructed 507 motor neurons, including all those that control the legs and wings. We show that a specific class of leg sensory neurons directly synapse onto the largest-caliber motor neuron axons on both sides of the body, representing a unique feedback pathway for fast limb control. We provide open access to the dataset and reconstructions registered to a standard atlas to permit matching of cells between EM and light microscopy data. We also provide GridTape instrumentation designs and software to make large-scale EM data acquisition more accessible and affordable to the scientific community.

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02/04/21 | Structure-Function Dataset Reveals Environment Effects within a Fluorescent Protein Model System.
De Zitter E, Hugelier S, Duwé S, Vandenberg W, Tebo AG, Van Meervelt L, Dedecker P
Angew Chemie (International Edition English). 2021 Feb 04:. doi: 10.1002/anie.202015201

Anisotropic environments can drastically alter the spectroscopy and photochemistry of molecules, leading to complex structure-function relationships. We examined this using fluorescent proteins as easy-to-modify model systems. Starting from a single scaffold, we have developed a range of 27 photochromic fluorescent proteins that cover a broad range of spectroscopic properties, including the determination of 43 crystal structures. Correlation and principal component analysis confirmed the complex relationship between structure and spectroscopy, but also allowed us to identify consistent trends and to relate these to the spatial organization. We find that changes in spectroscopic properties can come about through multiple underlying mechanisms, of which polarity, hydrogen bonding and presence of water molecules are key modulators. We anticipate that our findings and rich structure/spectroscopy dataset can open opportunities for the development and evaluation of new and existing protein engineering methods.

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02/03/21 | Drosophila uses a tripod gait across all walking speeds, and the geometry of the tripod is important for speed control.
Chun C, Biswas T, Bhandawat V
eLife. 2021 Feb 03;10:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.65878

Changes in walking speed are characterized by changes in both the animal's gait and the mechanics of its interaction with the ground. Here we study these changes in walking . We measured the fly's center of mass (CoM) movement with high spatial resolution and the position of its footprints. Flies predominantly employ a modified tripod gait that only changes marginally with speed. The mechanics of a tripod gait can be approximated with a simple model - angular and radial spring-loaded inverted pendulum (ARSLIP) - which is characterized by two springs of an effective leg that become stiffer as the speed increases. Surprisingly, the change in the stiffness of the spring is mediated by the change in tripod shape rather than a change in stiffness of the individual leg. The effect of tripod shape on mechanics can also explain the large variation in kinematics among insects, and ARSLIP can model these variations.

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02/03/21 | Systems Neuroscience of Natural Behaviors in Rodents.
Dennis EJ, El Hady A, Michaiel A, Clemens A, Gowan Tervo DR, Voigts J, Datta SR
Journal of Neuroscience. 2021 Feb 03;41(5):911-1. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1877-20.2020

Animals evolved in complex environments, producing a wide range of behaviors, including navigation, foraging, prey capture, and conspecific interactions, which vary over timescales ranging from milliseconds to days. Historically, these behaviors have been the focus of study for ecology and ethology, while systems neuroscience has largely focused on short timescale behaviors that can be repeated thousands of times and occur in highly artificial environments. Thanks to recent advances in machine learning, miniaturization, and computation, it is newly possible to study freely moving animals in more natural conditions while applying systems techniques: performing temporally specific perturbations, modeling behavioral strategies, and recording from large numbers of neurons while animals are freely moving. The authors of this review are a group of scientists with deep appreciation for the common aims of systems neuroscience, ecology, and ethology. We believe it is an extremely exciting time to be a neuroscientist, as we have an opportunity to grow as a field, to embrace interdisciplinary, open, collaborative research to provide new insights and allow researchers to link knowledge across disciplines, species, and scales. Here we discuss the origins of ethology, ecology, and systems neuroscience in the context of our own work and highlight how combining approaches across these fields has provided fresh insights into our research. We hope this review facilitates some of these interactions and alliances and helps us all do even better science, together.

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02/03/21 | Visualizing cellular and tissue ultrastructure using Ten-fold Robust Expansion Microscopy (TREx)
Hugo G.J. Damstra , Boaz Mohar , Mark Eddison , Anna Akhmanova , Lukas C. Kapitein , Paul W. Tillberg
bioRxiv. 2021 Feb 03:. doi:

Expansion microscopy (ExM) is a powerful technique to overcome the diffraction limit of light microscopy that can be applied in both tissues and cells. In ExM, samples are embedded in a swellable polymer gel to physically expand the sample and isotropically increase resolution in x, y and z. The maximum resolution increase is limited by the expansion factor of the polymer gel, which is four-fold for the original ExM protocol. Variations on the original ExM method have been reported that allow for greater expansion factors, for example using iterative expansion, but at the cost of ease of adoption or versatility. Here, we systematically explore the ExM recipe space and present a novel method termed Ten-fold Robust Expansion Microscopy (TREx) that, like the original ExM method, requires no specialized equipment or procedures to carry out. We demonstrate that TREx gels expand ten-fold, can be handled easily, and can be applied to both thick tissue sections and cells enabling high-resolution subcellular imaging in a single expansion step. We show that applying TREx on antibody-stained samples can be combined with off-the-shelf small molecule stains for both total protein and membranes to provide ultrastructural context to subcellular protein localization.

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02/01/21 | 3D FIB-SEM reconstruction of microtubule-organelle interaction in whole primary mouse β cells.
Müller A, Schmidt D, Xu CS, Pang S, D'Costa JV, Kretschmar S, Münster C, Kurth T, Jug F, Weigert M, Hess HF, Solimena M
Journal of Cell Biology. 2021 Feb 01;220(2):. doi: 10.1083/jcb.202010039

Microtubules play a major role in intracellular trafficking of vesicles in endocrine cells. Detailed knowledge of microtubule organization and their relation to other cell constituents is crucial for understanding cell function. However, their role in insulin transport and secretion is under debate. Here, we use FIB-SEM to image islet β cells in their entirety with unprecedented resolution. We reconstruct mitochondria, Golgi apparati, centrioles, insulin secretory granules, and microtubules of seven β cells, and generate a comprehensive spatial map of microtubule-organelle interactions. We find that microtubules form nonradial networks that are predominantly not connected to either centrioles or endomembranes. Microtubule number and length, but not microtubule polymer density, vary with glucose stimulation. Furthermore, insulin secretory granules are enriched near the plasma membrane, where they associate with microtubules. In summary, we provide the first 3D reconstructions of complete microtubule networks in primary mammalian cells together with evidence regarding their importance for insulin secretory granule positioning and thus their supportive role in insulin secretion.

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02/01/21 | Image-based pooled whole-genome CRISPRi screening for subcellular phenotypes.
Kanfer G, Sarraf SA, Maman Y, Baldwin H, Dominguez-Martin E, Johnson KR, Ward ME, Kampmann M, Lippincott-Schwartz J, Youle RJ
Journal of Cell Biology. 2021 Feb 01;220(2):. doi: 10.1083/jcb.202006180

Genome-wide CRISPR screens have transformed our ability to systematically interrogate human gene function, but are currently limited to a subset of cellular phenotypes. We report a novel pooled screening approach for a wider range of cellular and subtle subcellular phenotypes. Machine learning and convolutional neural network models are trained on the subcellular phenotype to be queried. Genome-wide screening then utilizes cells stably expressing dCas9-KRAB (CRISPRi), photoactivatable fluorescent protein (PA-mCherry), and a lentiviral guide RNA (gRNA) pool. Cells are screened by using microscopy and classified by artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, which precisely identify the genetically altered phenotype. Cells with the phenotype of interest are photoactivated and isolated via flow cytometry, and the gRNAs are identified by sequencing. A proof-of-concept screen accurately identified PINK1 as essential for Parkin recruitment to mitochondria. A genome-wide screen identified factors mediating TFEB relocation from the nucleus to the cytosol upon prolonged starvation. Twenty-one of the 64 hits called by the neural network model were independently validated, revealing new effectors of TFEB subcellular localization. This approach, AI-photoswitchable screening (AI-PS), offers a novel screening platform capable of classifying a broad range of mammalian subcellular morphologies, an approach largely unattainable with current methodologies at genome-wide scale.

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01/29/21 | The level of oncogenic Ras determines the malignant transformation of Lkb1 mutant tissue in vivo.
Rackley B, Seong C, Kiely E, Parker RE, Rupji M, Dwivedi B, Heddleston JM, Giang W, Anthony N, Chew T, Gilbert-Ross M
Communications Biology. 2021 Jan 29;4(1):142. doi: 10.1038/s42003-021-01663-8

The genetic and metabolic heterogeneity of RAS-driven cancers has confounded therapeutic strategies in the clinic. To address this, rapid and genetically tractable animal models are needed that recapitulate the heterogeneity of RAS-driven cancers in vivo. Here, we generate a Drosophila melanogaster model of Ras/Lkb1 mutant carcinoma. We show that low-level expression of oncogenic Ras (Ras) promotes the survival of Lkb1 mutant tissue, but results in autonomous cell cycle arrest and non-autonomous overgrowth of wild-type tissue. In contrast, high-level expression of oncogenic Ras (Ras) transforms Lkb1 mutant tissue resulting in lethal malignant tumors. Using simultaneous multiview light-sheet microcopy, we have characterized invasion phenotypes of Ras/Lkb1 tumors in living larvae. Our molecular analysis reveals sustained activation of the AMPK pathway in malignant Ras/Lkb1 tumors, and demonstrate the genetic and pharmacologic dependence of these tumors on CaMK-activated Ampk. We further show that LKB1 mutant human lung adenocarcinoma patients with high levels of oncogenic KRAS exhibit worse overall survival and increased AMPK activation. Our results suggest that high levels of oncogenic KRAS is a driving event in the malignant transformation of LKB1 mutant tissue, and uncovers a vulnerability that may be used to target this aggressive genetic subset of RAS-driven tumors.

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