In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (27)

Articles by Clifford Talbot in JoVE

 JoVE Biology

Open Source High Content Analysis Utilizing Automated Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy

1Photonics Group, Department of Physics, Imperial College London, 2Institute for Chemical Biology, Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London, 3MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Hammersmith Hospital, 4Chemical Biology Section, Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London, 5Retroscreen Virology Ltd, 6Pfizer Global Research and Development, Pfizer Limited, Sandwich, Kent, UK, 7Centre for Histopathology, Imperial College London

JoVE 55119

Other articles by Clifford Talbot on PubMed

Time-domain Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Applied to Biological Tissue

Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences : Official Journal of the European Photochemistry Association and the European Society for Photobiology. Aug, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15295637

Fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) is a functional imaging methodology that can provide information, not only concerning the localisation of specific fluorophores, but also about the local fluorophore environment. It may be implemented in scanning confocal or multi-photon microscopes, or in wide-field microscopes and endoscopes. When applied to tissue autofluorescence, it reveals intrinsic excellent contrast between different types and states of tissue. This article aims to review our recent progress in developing time-domain FLIM technology for microscopy and endoscopy and applying it to biological tissue.

Rapid Hyperspectral Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging

Microscopy Research and Technique. May, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17366615

We report a rapid hyperspectral fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) instrument that exploits high-speed FLIM technology in a line-scanning microscope. We demonstrate the acquisition of whole-field optically sectioned hyperspectral fluorescence lifetime image stacks (with 32 spectral bins) in less than 40 s and illustrate its application to unstained biological tissue.

Excitation-resolved Hyperspectral Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Using a UV-extended Supercontinuum Source

Optics Letters. Dec, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 18059949

We present a time-gated, optically sectioned, hyperspectral fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) microscope incorporating a tunable supercontinuum excitation source extending into the UV. The system is capable of resolving the excitation spectrum, emission spectrum, and fluorescence decays in an optically sectioned image.

Three-dimensional Molecular Mapping in a Microfluidic Mixing Device Using Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging

Optics Letters. Aug, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18709122

Fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) is used to quantitatively map the concentration of a small molecule in three dimensions in a microfluidic mixing device. The resulting experimental data are compared with computational fluid-dynamics (CFD) simulations. A line-scanning semiconfocal FLIM microscope allows the full mixing profile to be imaged in a single scan with submicrometer resolution over an arbitrary channel length from the point of confluence. Following experimental and CFD optimization, mixing times down to 1.3+/-0.4 ms were achieved with the single-layer microfluidic device.

Multiplexed FRET to Image Multiple Signaling Events in Live Cells

Biophysical Journal. Nov, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18757561

We report what to our knowledge is a novel approach for simultaneous imaging of two different Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) sensors in the same cell with minimal spectral cross talk. Previous methods based on spectral ratiometric imaging of the two FRET sensors have been limited by the availability of suitably bright acceptors for the second FRET pair and the spectral cross talk incurred when measuring in four spectral windows. In contrast to spectral ratiometric imaging, fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) requires measurement of the donor fluorescence only and is independent of emission from the acceptor. By combining FLIM-FRET of the novel red-shifted TagRFP/mPlum FRET pair with spectral ratiometric imaging of an ECFP/Venus pair we were thus able to maximize the spectral separation between our chosen fluorophores while at the same time overcoming the low quantum yield of the far red acceptor mPlum. Using this technique, we could read out a TagRFP/mPlum intermolecular FRET sensor for reporting on small Ras GTP-ase activation in live cells after epidermal growth factor stimulation and an ECFP/Venus Cameleon FRET sensor for monitoring calcium transients within the same cells. The combination of spectral ratiometric imaging of ECFP/Venus and high-speed FLIM-FRET of TagRFP/mPlum can thus increase the spectral bandwidth available and provide robust imaging of multiple FRET sensors within the same cell. Furthermore, since FLIM does not require equal stoichiometries of donor and acceptor, this approach can be used to report on both unimolecular FRET biosensors and protein-protein interactions with the same cell.

Fluorescence Lifetime Optical Projection Tomography

Journal of Biophotonics. Oct, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 19343662

We describe a quantitative fluorescence projection tomography technique which measures the 3-D fluorescence lifetime distribution in optically cleared specimens up 1 cm in diameter. This is achieved by acquiring a series of wide-field time-gated images at different relative time delays with respect to a train of excitation pulses, at a number of projection angles. For each time delay, the 3-D time-gated intensity distribution is reconstructed using a filtered back projection algorithm and the fluorescence lifetime subsequently determined for each reconstructed horizontal plane by iterative fitting to a mono-exponential decay. Due to its inherently ratiometric nature, fluorescence lifetime is robust against intensity based artefacts as well as producing a quantitative measure of the fluorescence signal. We present a 3-D fluorescence lifetime reconstruction of a mouse embryo labelled with an alexa-488 conjugated antibody targeted to the neurofilament, which clearly differentiates between the extrinsic label and the autofluorescence, particularly from the heart and dorsal aorta.

High Speed Unsupervised Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Confocal Multiwell Plate Reader for High Content Analysis

Journal of Biophotonics. Dec, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 19343677

We report an automated optically sectioning fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) multiwell plate reader for high content analysis (HCA) in drug discovery and accelerated research in cell biology. The system utilizes a Nipkow disc confocal microscope and performs unsupervised FLIM with autofocus, automatic setting of acquisition parameters and automated localisation of cells in the field of view. We demonstrate its applications to test dye solutions, fixed and live cells and FLIM-FRET.

FLIM FRET Technology for Drug Discovery: Automated Multiwell-plate High-content Analysis, Multiplexed Readouts and Application in Situ

Chemphyschem : a European Journal of Chemical Physics and Physical Chemistry. Feb, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21337485

A fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) technology platform intended to read out changes in Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) efficiency is presented for the study of protein interactions across the drug-discovery pipeline. FLIM provides a robust, inherently ratiometric imaging modality for drug discovery that could allow the same sensor constructs to be translated from automated cell-based assays through small transparent organisms such as zebrafish to mammals. To this end, an automated FLIM multiwell-plate reader is described for high content analysis of fixed and live cells, tomographic FLIM in zebrafish and FLIM FRET of live cells via confocal endomicroscopy. For cell-based assays, an exemplar application reading out protein aggregation using FLIM FRET is presented, and the potential for multiple simultaneous FLIM (FRET) readouts in microscopy is illustrated.

Quantitative Evaluation of Healthy Epidermis by Means of Multiphoton Microscopy and Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy

Skin Research and Technology : Official Journal of International Society for Bioengineering and the Skin (ISBS) [and] International Society for Digital Imaging of Skin (ISDIS) [and] International Society for Skin Imaging (ISSI). Aug, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21518012

Multiphoton microscopy (MPM) enables the assessment of unstained living biological tissue with submicron resolution, whereas fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) generates image contrast between different states of tissue characterized by various fluorescence decay rates. The aim of this study was to compare the healthy skin of young individuals with that of older subjects, as well as to assess the skin at different body sites, by means of MPM and FLIM.

Application of Ultrafast Gold Luminescence to Measuring the Instrument Response Function for Multispectral Multiphoton Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging

Optics Express. Jul, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21934746

When performing multiphoton fluorescence lifetime imaging in multiple spectral emission channels, an instrument response function must be acquired in each channel if accurate measurements of complex fluorescence decays are to be performed. Although this can be achieved using the reference reconvolution technique, it is difficult to identify suitable fluorophores with a mono-exponential fluorescence decay across a broad emission spectrum. We present a solution to this problem by measuring the IRF using the ultrafast luminescence from gold nanorods. We show that ultrafast gold nanorod luminescence allows the IRF to be directly obtained in multiple spectral channels simultaneously across a wide spectral range. We validate this approach by presenting an analysis of multispectral autofluorescence FLIM data obtained from human skin ex vivo.

Quantification of Cellular Autofluorescence of Human Skin Using Multiphoton Tomography and Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging in Two Spectral Detection Channels

Biomedical Optics Express. Dec, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 22162820

We explore the diagnostic potential of imaging endogenous fluorophores using two photon microscopy and fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) in human skin with two spectral detection channels. Freshly excised benign dysplastic nevi (DN) and malignant nodular Basal Cell Carcinomas (nBCCs) were excited at 760 nm. The resulting fluorescence signal was binned manually on a cell by cell basis. This improved the reliability of fitting using a double exponential decay model and allowed the fluorescence signatures from different cell populations within the tissue to be identified and studied. We also performed a direct comparison between different diagnostic groups. A statistically significant difference between the median mean fluorescence lifetime of 2.79 ns versus 2.52 ns (blue channel, 300-500 nm) and 2.08 ns versus 1.33 ns (green channel, 500-640 nm) was found between nBCCs and DN respectively, using the Mann-Whitney U test (p < 0.01). Further differences in the distribution of fluorescence lifetime parameters and inter-patient variability are also discussed.

Multiphoton Laser Microscopy and Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging for the Evaluation of the Skin

Dermatology Research and Practice. 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22203841

Multiphoton laser microscopy is a new, non-invasive technique providing access to the skin at a cellular and subcellular level, which is based both on autofluorescence and fluorescence lifetime imaging. Whereas the former considers fluorescence intensity emitted by epidermal and dermal fluorophores and by the extra-cellular matrix, fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM), is generated by the fluorescence decay rate. This innovative technique can be applied to the study of living skin, cell cultures and ex vivo samples. Although still limited to the clinical research field, the development of multiphoton laser microscopy is thought to become suitable for a practical application in the next few years: in this paper, we performed an accurate review of the studies published so far, considering the possible fields of application of this imaging method and providing high quality images acquired in the Department of Dermatology of the University of Modena.

Multiphoton Laser Tomography and Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging of Basal Cell Carcinoma: Morphologic Features for Non-invasive Diagnostics

Experimental Dermatology. Nov, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22882324

Multiphoton laser tomography (MPT) combined with fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) is a non-invasive imaging technique, which gives access to the cellular and extracellular morphology of the skin. The aim of our study was to assess the sensitivity and specificity of MPT/FLIM descriptors for basal cell carcinoma (BCC), to improve BCC diagnosis and the identification of tumor margins. In the preliminary study, FLIM images referring to 35 BCCs and 35 healthy skin samples were evaluated for the identification of morphologic descriptors characteristic of BCC. In the main study, the selected parameters were blindly evaluated on a test set comprising 63 BCCs, 63 healthy skin samples and 66 skin lesions. Moreover, FLIM values inside a region of interest were calculated on 98 healthy skin and 98 BCC samples. In the preliminary study, three epidermal descriptors and 7 BCC descriptors were identified. The specificity of the diagnostic criteria versus 'other lesions' was extremely high, indicating that the presence of at least one BCC descriptor makes the diagnosis of 'other lesion' extremely unlikely. FLIM values referring to BCC cells significantly differed from those of healthy skin. In this study, we identified morphological and numerical descriptors enabling the differentiation of BCC from other skin disorders and its distinction from healthy skin in ex vivo samples. In future, MPT/FLIM may be applied to skin lesions to provide direct clinical guidance before biopsy and histological examination and for the identification of tumor margins allowing a complete surgical removal.

Multiphoton Multispectral Fluorescence Lifetime Tomography for the Evaluation of Basal Cell Carcinomas

PloS One. 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22984428

We present the first detailed study using multispectral multiphoton fluorescence lifetime imaging to differentiate basal cell carcinoma cells (BCCs) from normal keratinocytes. Images were acquired from 19 freshly excised BCCs and 27 samples of normal skin (in & ex vivo). Features from fluorescence lifetime images were used to discriminate BCCs with a sensitivity/specificity of 79%/93% respectively. A mosaic of BCC fluorescence lifetime images covering >1 mm(2) is also presented, demonstrating the potential for tumour margin delineation. Using 10,462 manually segmented cells from the image data, we quantify the cellular morphology and spectroscopic differences between BCCs and normal skin for the first time. Statistically significant increases were found in the fluorescence lifetimes of cells from BCCs in all spectral channels, ranging from 19.9% (425-515 nm spectral emission) to 39.8% (620-655 nm emission). A discriminant analysis based diagnostic algorithm allowed the fraction of cells classified as malignant to be calculated for each patient. This yielded a receiver operator characteristic area under the curve for the detection of BCC of 0.83. We have used both morphological and spectroscopic parameters to discriminate BCC from normal skin, and provide a comprehensive base for how this technique could be used for BCC assessment in clinical practice.

High-resolution Imaging of Basal Cell Carcinoma: a Comparison Between Multiphoton Microscopy with Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging and Reflectance Confocal Microscopy

Skin Research and Technology : Official Journal of International Society for Bioengineering and the Skin (ISBS) [and] International Society for Digital Imaging of Skin (ISDIS) [and] International Society for Skin Imaging (ISSI). Feb, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 22970856

The aim of this study was to compare morphological aspects of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) as assessed by two different imaging methods: in vivo reflectance confocal microscopy (RCM) and multiphoton tomography with fluorescence lifetime imaging implementation (MPT-FLIM).

Detection of Cartilage Matrix Degradation by Autofluorescence Lifetime

Matrix Biology : Journal of the International Society for Matrix Biology. Jan, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23266527

Cartilage is a vital organ to maintain joint function. Upon arthritis, proteolytic enzymes initiate degradation of cartilage extracellular matrix (ECM) resulting in eventual loss of joint function. However, there are only limited ways of non-invasively monitoring early chemical changes in cartilage matrix. Here we report that the autofluorescence decay profiles of cartilage tissue are significantly affected by proteolytic degradation of cartilage ECM and can be characterised by measurements of the autofluorescence lifetime (AFL). A compact multidimensional fluorometer coupled to a fibre-optic probe was developed for single point measurements of AFL and applied to cartilage that was treated with different proteinases. Upon treating cartilage with bacterial collagenase, trypsin or matrix metalloproteinase 1, a significant dose and time dependent decrease of AFL was observed. Our data suggest that AFL of cartilage tissue is a potential non-invasive readout to monitor cartilage matrix integrity that may contribute to future diagnosis of cartilage defects as well as monitoring the efficacy of anti-joint therapeutic agents.

High Resolution Diagnosis of Common Nevi by Multiphoton Laser Tomography and Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging

Skin Research and Technology : Official Journal of International Society for Bioengineering and the Skin (ISBS) [and] International Society for Digital Imaging of Skin (ISDIS) [and] International Society for Skin Imaging (ISSI). May, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23279266

Multiphoton Laser Tomography (MPT) has developed as a non-invasive tool that allows real-time observation of the skin with subcellular resolution. MPT is readily combined with time resolved detectors to achieve fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM). The aim of our study was to identify morphologic MPT/FLIM descriptors of melanocytic nevi, referring to cellular and architectural features.

High-resolution Multiphoton Tomography and Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging of UVB-induced Cellular Damage on Cultured Fibroblasts Producing Fibres

Skin Research and Technology : Official Journal of International Society for Bioengineering and the Skin (ISBS) [and] International Society for Digital Imaging of Skin (ISDIS) [and] International Society for Skin Imaging (ISSI). Aug, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23590582

Multiphoton tomography (MPT) is suitable to perform both ex vivo and in vivo investigations of living skin and cell cultures with submicron resolution. Fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) generates image contrast between different states of tissue characterized by various fluorescence decay rates. Our purpose was to combine MPT and FLIM to evaluate fibroblasts and collagen fibres produced in vitro.

Multiphoton Laser Tomography and Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging of Melanoma: Morphologic Features and Quantitative Data for Sensitive and Specific Non-invasive Diagnostics

PloS One. 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23923016

Multiphoton laser tomography (MPT) combined with fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) is a non-invasive imaging technique, based on the study of fluorescence decay times of naturally occurring fluorescent molecules, enabling a non-invasive investigation of the skin with subcellular resolution. The aim of this retrospective observational ex vivo study, was to characterize melanoma both from a morphologic and a quantitative point of view, attaining an improvement in the diagnostic accuracy with respect to dermoscopy. In the training phase, thirty parameters, comprising both cytological descriptors and architectural aspects, were identified. The training set included 6 melanomas with a mean Breslow thickness±S.D. of 0.89±0.48 mm. In the test phase, these parameters were blindly evaluated on a test data set consisting of 25 melanomas, 50 nevi and 50 basal cell carcinomas. Melanomas in the test phase comprised 8 in situ lesions and had a mean thickness±S.D. of 0.77±1.2 mm. Moreover, quantitative FLIM data were calculated for special areas of interest. Melanoma was characterized by the presence of atypical short lifetime cells and architectural disorder, in contrast to nevi presenting typical cells and a regular histoarchitecture. Sensitivity and specificity values for melanoma diagnosis were 100% and 98%, respectively, whereas dermoscopy achieved the same sensitivity, but a lower specificity (82%). Mean fluorescence lifetime values of melanocytic cells did not vary between melanomas and nevi, but significantly differed from those referring to basal cell carcinoma enabling a differential diagnosis based on quantitative data. Data from prospective preoperative trials are needed to confirm if MPT/FLIM could increase diagnostic specificity and thus reduce unnecessary surgical excisions.

Rapid Global Fitting of Large Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy Datasets

PloS One. 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23940626

Fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) is widely applied to obtain quantitative information from fluorescence signals, particularly using Förster Resonant Energy Transfer (FRET) measurements to map, for example, protein-protein interactions. Extracting FRET efficiencies or population fractions typically entails fitting data to complex fluorescence decay models but such experiments are frequently photon constrained, particularly for live cell or in vivo imaging, and this leads to unacceptable errors when analysing data on a pixel-wise basis. Lifetimes and population fractions may, however, be more robustly extracted using global analysis to simultaneously fit the fluorescence decay data of all pixels in an image or dataset to a multi-exponential model under the assumption that the lifetime components are invariant across the image (dataset). This approach is often considered to be prohibitively slow and/or computationally expensive but we present here a computationally efficient global analysis algorithm for the analysis of time-correlated single photon counting (TCSPC) or time-gated FLIM data based on variable projection. It makes efficient use of both computer processor and memory resources, requiring less than a minute to analyse time series and multiwell plate datasets with hundreds of FLIM images on standard personal computers. This lifetime analysis takes account of repetitive excitation, including fluorescence photons excited by earlier pulses contributing to the fit, and is able to accommodate time-varying backgrounds and instrument response functions. We demonstrate that this global approach allows us to readily fit time-resolved fluorescence data to complex models including a four-exponential model of a FRET system, for which the FRET efficiencies of the two species of a bi-exponential donor are linked, and polarisation-resolved lifetime data, where a fluorescence intensity and bi-exponential anisotropy decay model is applied to the analysis of live cell homo-FRET data. A software package implementing this algorithm, FLIMfit, is available under an open source licence through the Open Microscopy Environment.

Neural Correlates of Water Reward in Thirsty Drosophila

Nature Neuroscience. Nov, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25262493

Drinking water is innately rewarding to thirsty animals. In addition, the consumed value can be assigned to behavioral actions and predictive sensory cues by associative learning. Here we show that thirst converts water avoidance into water-seeking in naive Drosophila melanogaster. Thirst also permitted flies to learn olfactory cues paired with water reward. Water learning required water taste and <40 water-responsive dopaminergic neurons that innervate a restricted zone of the mushroom body γ lobe. These water learning neurons are different from those that are critical for conveying the reinforcing effects of sugar. Naive water-seeking behavior in thirsty flies did not require water taste but relied on another subset of water-responsive dopaminergic neurons that target the mushroom body β' lobe. Furthermore, these naive water-approach neurons were not required for learned water-seeking. Our results therefore demonstrate that naive water-seeking, learned water-seeking and water learning use separable neural circuitry in the brain of thirsty flies.

Application of Time-resolved Autofluorescence to Label-free in Vivo Optical Mapping of Changes in Tissue Matrix and Metabolism Associated with Myocardial Infarction and Heart Failure

Biomedical Optics Express. Feb, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25780727

We investigate the potential of an instrument combining time-resolved spectrofluorometry and diffuse reflectance spectroscopy to measure structural and metabolic changes in cardiac tissue in vivo in a 16 week post-myocardial infarction heart failure model in rats. In the scar region, we observed changes in the fluorescence signal that can be explained by increased collagen content, which is in good agreement with histology. In areas remote from the scar tissue, we measured changes in the fluorescence signal (p < 0.001) that cannot be explained by differences in collagen content and we attribute this to altered metabolism within the myocardium. A linear discriminant analysis algorithm was applied to the measurements to predict the tissue disease state. When we combine all measurements, our results reveal high diagnostic accuracy in the infarcted area (100%) and border zone (94.44%) as well as in remote regions from the scar (> 77%). Overall, our results demonstrate the potential of our instrument to characterize structural and metabolic changes in a failing heart in vivo without using exogenous labels.

Activity of Defined Mushroom Body Output Neurons Underlies Learned Olfactory Behavior in Drosophila

Neuron. Apr, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25864636

During olfactory learning in fruit flies, dopaminergic neurons assign value to odor representations in the mushroom body Kenyon cells. Here we identify a class of downstream glutamatergic mushroom body output neurons (MBONs) called M4/6, or MBON-β2β'2a, MBON-β'2mp, and MBON-γ5β'2a, whose dendritic fields overlap with dopaminergic neuron projections in the tips of the β, β', and γ lobes. This anatomy and their odor tuning suggests that M4/6 neurons pool odor-driven Kenyon cell synaptic outputs. Like that of mushroom body neurons, M4/6 output is required for expression of appetitive and aversive memory performance. Moreover, appetitive and aversive olfactory conditioning bidirectionally alters the relative odor-drive of M4β' neurons (MBON-β'2mp). Direct block of M4/6 neurons in naive flies mimics appetitive conditioning, being sufficient to convert odor-driven avoidance into approach, while optogenetically activating these neurons induces avoidance behavior. We therefore propose that drive to the M4/6 neurons reflects odor-directed behavioral choice.

Correction Approach for Delta Function Convolution Model Fitting of Fluorescence Decay Data in the Case of a Monoexponential Reference Fluorophore

Journal of Fluorescence. Sep, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26063535

A correction is proposed to the Delta function convolution method (DFCM) for fitting a multiexponential decay model to time-resolved fluorescence decay data using a monoexponential reference fluorophore. A theoretical analysis of the discretised DFCM multiexponential decay function shows the presence an extra exponential decay term with the same lifetime as the reference fluorophore that we denote as the residual reference component. This extra decay component arises as a result of the discretised convolution of one of the two terms in the modified model function required by the DFCM. The effect of the residual reference component becomes more pronounced when the fluorescence lifetime of the reference is longer than all of the individual components of the specimen under inspection and when the temporal sampling interval is not negligible compared to the quantity (τR (-1) - τ(-1))(-1), where τR and τ are the fluorescence lifetimes of the reference and the specimen respectively. It is shown that the unwanted residual reference component results in systematic errors when fitting simulated data and that these errors are not present when the proposed correction is applied. The correction is also verified using real data obtained from experiment.

Memory-Relevant Mushroom Body Output Synapses Are Cholinergic

Neuron. Mar, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26948892

Memories are stored in the fan-out fan-in neural architectures of the mammalian cerebellum and hippocampus and the insect mushroom bodies. However, whereas key plasticity occurs at glutamatergic synapses in mammals, the neurochemistry of the memory-storing mushroom body Kenyon cell output synapses is unknown. Here we demonstrate a role for acetylcholine (ACh) in Drosophila. Kenyon cells express the ACh-processing proteins ChAT and VAChT, and reducing their expression impairs learned olfactory-driven behavior. Local ACh application, or direct Kenyon cell activation, evokes activity in mushroom body output neurons (MBONs). MBON activation depends on VAChT expression in Kenyon cells and is blocked by ACh receptor antagonism. Furthermore, reducing nicotinic ACh receptor subunit expression in MBONs compromises odor-evoked activation and redirects odor-driven behavior. Lastly, peptidergic corelease enhances ACh-evoked responses in MBONs, suggesting an interaction between the fast- and slow-acting transmitters. Therefore, olfactory memories in Drosophila are likely stored as plasticity of cholinergic synapses.

Aversive Learning and Appetitive Motivation Toggle Feed-Forward Inhibition in the Drosophila Mushroom Body

Neuron. Jun, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27210550

In Drosophila, negatively reinforcing dopaminergic neurons also provide the inhibitory control of satiety over appetitive memory expression. Here we show that aversive learning causes a persistent depression of the conditioned odor drive to two downstream feed-forward inhibitory GABAergic interneurons of the mushroom body, called MVP2, or mushroom body output neuron (MBON)-γ1pedc>α/β. However, MVP2 neuron output is only essential for expression of short-term aversive memory. Stimulating MVP2 neurons preferentially inhibits the odor-evoked activity of avoidance-directing MBONs and odor-driven avoidance behavior, whereas their inhibition enhances odor avoidance. In contrast, odor-evoked activity of MVP2 neurons is elevated in hungry flies, and their feed-forward inhibition is required for expression of appetitive memory at all times. Moreover, imposing MVP2 activity promotes inappropriate appetitive memory expression in food-satiated flies. Aversive learning and appetitive motivation therefore toggle alternate modes of a common feed-forward inhibitory MVP2 pathway to promote conditioned odor avoidance or approach.

Operation of a Homeostatic Sleep Switch

Nature. Aug, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27487216

Sleep disconnects animals from the external world, at considerable risks and costs that must be offset by a vital benefit. Insight into this mysterious benefit will come from understanding sleep homeostasis: to monitor sleep need, an internal bookkeeper must track physiological changes that are linked to the core function of sleep. In Drosophila, a crucial component of the machinery for sleep homeostasis is a cluster of neurons innervating the dorsal fan-shaped body (dFB) of the central complex. Artificial activation of these cells induces sleep, whereas reductions in excitability cause insomnia. dFB neurons in sleep-deprived flies tend to be electrically active, with high input resistances and long membrane time constants, while neurons in rested flies tend to be electrically silent. Correlative evidence thus supports the simple view that homeostatic sleep control works by switching sleep-promoting neurons between active and quiescent states. Here we demonstrate state switching by dFB neurons, identify dopamine as a neuromodulator that operates the switch, and delineate the switching mechanism. Arousing dopamine caused transient hyperpolarization of dFB neurons within tens of milliseconds and lasting excitability suppression within minutes. Both effects were transduced by Dop1R2 receptors and mediated by potassium conductances. The switch to electrical silence involved the downregulation of voltage-gated A-type currents carried by Shaker and Shab, and the upregulation of voltage-independent leak currents through a two-pore-domain potassium channel that we term Sandman. Sandman is encoded by the CG8713 gene and translocates to the plasma membrane in response to dopamine. dFB-restricted interference with the expression of Shaker or Sandman decreased or increased sleep, respectively, by slowing the repetitive discharge of dFB neurons in the ON state or blocking their entry into the OFF state. Biophysical changes in a small population of neurons are thus linked to the control of sleep-wake state.

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