A boundary delimitation algorithm to approximate cell soma volumes of bipolar cells from topographical data obtained by scanning probe microscopy.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Cell volume determination plays a pivotal role in the investigation of the biophysical mechanisms underlying various cellular processes. Whereas light microscopy in principle enables one to obtain three dimensional data, the reconstruction of cell volume from z-stacks is a time consuming procedure. Thus, three dimensional topographic representations of cells are easier to obtain by scanning probe microscopical measurements. RESULTS: We present a method of separating the cell soma volume of bipolar cells in adherent cell cultures from the contributions of the cell processes from data obtained by scanning ion conductance microscopy. Soma volume changes between successive scans obtained from the same cell can then be computed even if the cell is changing its position within the observed area. We demonstrate that the estimation of the cell volume on the basis of the width and the length of a cell may lead to erroneous determination of cell volume changes. CONCLUSIONS: We provide a new algorithm to repeatedly determine single cell soma volume and thus to quantify cell volume changes during cell movements occuring over a time range of hours.
Project description:The migration of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) to the white matter is an indispensable requirement for an intact brain function. The mechanism of cell migration in general is not yet completely understood. Nevertheless, evidence is accumulating that besides the coordinated rearrangement of the cytoskeleton, a finetuned interplay of ion and water fluxes across the cell membrane is essential for cell migration. One part of a general hypothesis is that a local volume increase towards the direction of movement triggers a mechano-activated calcium influx that regulates various procedures at the rear end of a migrating cell. Here, we investigated cell volume changes of migrating OPCs using scanning ion conductance microscopy. We found that during accelerated migration OPCs undergo an increase in the frontal cell body volume. These findings are supplemented with time lapse calcium imaging data that hint an increase in calcium content the frontal part of the cell soma.
Project description:Regulation of intracellular pH (pH(i)) in neurons is crucial to maintain their physiological function. In the current study, newly-developed polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microfluidic devices were used to independently investigate pH(i) regulation in neuronal soma and neurites. Embryonic cortical neurons were cultured in PDMS microfluidic devices with soma growing in one chamber (seeded) and neurites extending through a set of perpendicular microchannels into the opposite parallel chamber (non-seeded). Neurons in the microchambers were characterized by the vital dye calcein-red, polarized mitochondria, and expression of neuronal specific beta-tubulin (type-III), axonal Tau-1 protein, dendritic microtubule associated protein (MAP-2), and Na(+)/H(+) exchanger isoform 1 (NHE-1). Neurites exhibited higher resting pH(i) than soma (7.16 +/- 0.09 vs. 6.90 +/- 0.15). The neurites had a proton extrusion rate 3.7-fold faster than in soma following NH(4)Cl prepulse-mediated acidification (p < 0.05). The difference in the pH(i) regulation rates between neurites and soma can be accounted for by the larger surface area to volume ratio in the neurites. Interestingly, pharmacological inhibition of NHE-1 activity blocked the pH(i) regulation in soma and in neurites by approximately 70% (p < 0.05). Taken together, our study demonstrated that the microfluidic devices provide a useful tool to study neuronal pH(i) regulation in soma and their neurites. We conclude that NHE-1 plays an important role in regulation of pH(i) in both compartments.
Project description:The mechanisms that regulate mammalian cell size during development and homeostatic maintenance are poorly understood. The tumor suppressor Pten is required for correct maintenance of mammalian neuronal soma size. Selective inactivation of Pten in postnatal granule neurons of the cerebellum and dentate gyrus in mouse causes cell-autonomous hypertrophy as well as more complex phenotypes, including progressive macrocephaly, seizures, and premature death. To determine the contribution of mTor signaling to Pten-mediated growth regulation in the mammalian nervous system, we treated Pten conditional knockout mice with CCI-779, a specific mTor inhibitor. mTor inhibition decreased the seizure frequency and death rate in Pten mutant mice, prevented the increase in Pten-deficient neuronal soma size in young mice, and reversed neuronal soma enlargement in adult mice. mTor inhibition did not decrease the size of wild-type adult neurons. Thus, mTor is required for neuronal hypertrophy downstream of Pten deficiency, but is not required for maintenance of normal neuronal soma size. mTOR inhibitors may be useful therapeutic agents for diseases in brain resulting from PTEN deficiency such as Lhermitte-Duclos disease or glioblastoma multiforme.
Project description:Neuronal soma segmentation is essential for morphology quantification analysis. Rapid advances in light microscope imaging techniques have generated such massive amounts of data that time-consuming manual methods cannot meet requirements for high throughput. However, touching soma segmentation is still a challenge for automatic segmentation methods. In this paper, we propose a soma segmentation method that combines the Rayburst sampling algorithm and ellipsoid fitting. The improved Rayburst sampling algorithm is used to detect the soma surface; the ellipsoid fitting method then refines jagged sampled soma surface to generate smooth ellipsoidal shapes for efficient analysis. In experiments, we validated the proposed method by applying it to datasets from the fluorescence micro-optical sectioning tomography (fMOST) system. The results indicate that the proposed method is comparable to the manual segmented gold standard with accurate soma segmentation at a relatively high speed. The proposed method can be extended to large-scale image stacks in the future.
Project description:Axonal targeting of signaling receptors is essential for neuronal responses to extracellular cues. Here, we report that retrograde signaling by target-derived nerve growth factor (NGF) is necessary for soma-to-axon transcytosis of TrkA receptors in sympathetic neurons, and we define the molecular underpinnings of this positive feedback regulation that enhances neuronal sensitivity to trophic factors. Activated TrkA receptors are retrogradely transported in signaling endosomes from distal axons to cell bodies, where they are inserted on soma surfaces and promote phosphorylation of resident naive receptors, resulting in their internalization. Endocytosed TrkA receptors are then dephosphorylated by PTP1B, an ER-resident protein tyrosine phosphatase, prior to axonal transport. PTP1B inactivation prevents TrkA exit from soma and causes receptor degradation, suggesting a "gatekeeper" mechanism that ensures targeting of inactive receptors to axons to engage with ligand. In mice, PTP1B deletion reduces axonal TrkA levels and attenuates neuron survival and target innervation under limiting NGF (NGF+/-) conditions.
Project description:Coincidence detector neurons transmit timing information by responding preferentially to concurrent synaptic inputs. Principal cells of the medial superior olive (MSO) in the mammalian auditory brainstem are superb coincidence detectors. They encode sound source location with high temporal precision, distinguishing submillisecond timing differences among inputs. We investigate computationally how dynamic coupling between the input region (soma and dendrite) and the spike-generating output region (axon and axon initial segment) can enhance coincidence detection in MSO neurons. To do this, we formulate a two-compartment neuron model and characterize extensively coincidence detection sensitivity throughout a parameter space of coupling configurations. We focus on the interaction between coupling configuration and two currents that provide dynamic, voltage-gated, negative feedback in subthreshold voltage range: sodium current with rapid inactivation and low-threshold potassium current, IKLT. These currents reduce synaptic summation and can prevent spike generation unless inputs arrive with near simultaneity. We show that strong soma-to-axon coupling promotes the negative feedback effects of sodium inactivation and is, therefore, advantageous for coincidence detection. Furthermore, the feedforward combination of strong soma-to-axon coupling and weak axon-to-soma coupling enables spikes to be generated efficiently (few sodium channels needed) and with rapid recovery that enhances high-frequency coincidence detection. These observations detail the functional benefit of the strongly feedforward configuration that has been observed in physiological studies of MSO neurons. We find that IKLT further enhances coincidence detection sensitivity, but with effects that depend on coupling configuration. For instance, in models with weak soma-to-axon and weak axon-to-soma coupling, IKLT in the axon enhances coincidence detection more effectively than IKLT in the soma. By using a minimal model of soma-to-axon coupling, we connect structure, dynamics, and computation. Although we consider the particular case of MSO coincidence detectors, our method for creating and exploring a parameter space of two-compartment models can be applied to other neurons.
Project description:In addition to the overall complexity of transcriptional regulation, cells also must take into account the subcellular distribution of these gene products. This is particularly challenging for morphologically complex cells such as neurons. Yet the interaction between cellular morphology and gene expression is poorly understood. Here we provide some of the first evidence for a relationship between neuronal compartment size and maintenance of mRNA levels in neurons. We find that single-cell transcript levels of 18S rRNA, GAPDH, and EF1-alpha, all gene products with primary functions in the cell soma, are strongly correlated to soma size in multiple distinct neuronal types. Levels of mRNA for the K+ channel shal, which is localized exclusively to the soma, are negatively correlated with soma size, suggesting that gene expression does not simply track positively with compartment size. Conversely, levels of beta-actin and beta-tubulin mRNA, which are major cytoskeletal proteins of neuronal processes, do not correlate with soma size, but are strongly correlated with one another. Additionally, actin/tubulin expression levels correlate with voltage-gated ion channels that are uniquely localized to axons. These results suggest that steady-state transcript levels are differentially regulated based on the subcellular compartment within which a given gene product primarily acts.
Project description:The transcription factor Flo8/Som1 controls filamentous growth in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and virulence in the plant pathogen Magnaporthe oryzae. Flo8/Som1 includes a characteristic N-terminal LUG/LUH-Flo8-single-stranded DNA binding (LUFS) domain and is activated by the cAMP dependent protein kinase A signaling pathway. Heterologous SomA from Aspergillus fumigatus rescued in yeast flo8 mutant strains several phenotypes including adhesion or flocculation in haploids and pseudohyphal growth in diploids, respectively. A. fumigatus SomA acts similarly to yeast Flo8 on the promoter of FLO11 fused with reporter gene (LacZ) in S. cerevisiae. FLO11 expression in yeast requires an activator complex including Flo8 and Mfg1. Furthermore, SomA physically interacts with PtaB, which is related to yeast Mfg1. Loss of the somA gene in A. fumigatus resulted in a slow growth phenotype and a block in asexual development. Only aerial hyphae without further differentiation could be formed. The deletion phenotype was verified by a conditional expression of somA using the inducible Tet-on system. A adherence assay with the conditional somA expression strain indicated that SomA is required for biofilm formation. A ptaB deletion strain showed a similar phenotype supporting that the SomA/PtaB complex controls A. fumigatus biofilm formation. Transcriptional analysis showed that SomA regulates expression of genes for several transcription factors which control conidiation or adhesion of A. fumigatus. Infection assays with fertilized chicken eggs as well as with mice revealed that SomA is required for pathogenicity. These data corroborate a complex control function of SomA acting as a central factor of the transcriptional network, which connects adhesion, spore formation and virulence in the opportunistic human pathogen A. fumigatus.
Project description:Somatic cellular differentiation plays a critical role in the transition from unicellular to multicellular life, but the evolution of its genetic basis remains poorly understood. By definition, somatic cells do not reproduce to pass on genes and so constitute an extreme form of altruistic behaviour. The volvocine green algae provide an excellent model system to study the evolution of multicellularity and somatic differentiation. In Volvox carteri, somatic cell differentiation is controlled by the regA gene, which is part of a tandem duplication of genes known as the reg cluster. Although previous work found the reg cluster in divergent Volvox species, its origin and distribution in the broader group of volvocine algae has not been known. Here, we show that the reg cluster is present in many species without somatic cells and determine that the genetic basis for soma arose before the phenotype at the origin of the family Volvocaceae approximately 200 million years ago. We hypothesize that the ancestral function was involved in regulating reproduction in response to stress and that this function was later co-opted to produce soma. Determining that the reg cluster was co-opted to control somatic cell development provides insight into how cellular differentiation, and with it greater levels of complexity and individuality, evolves.