Information Limited Oligonucleotide Amplification Assay for Affinity-Based, Parallel Detection Studies.
ABSTRACT: Molecular communication systems encounter similar constraints as telecommunications. In either case, channel crosstalk at the receiver end will result in information loss that statistical analysis cannot compensate. This is because in any communication channel there is a physical limit to the amount of information that can be transmitted. We present a novel and simple modified end amplification (MEA) technique to generate reduced and defined amounts of specific information in form of short fragments from an oligonucleotide source that also contains unrelated and redundant information. Our method can be a valuable tool to investigate information overflow and channel capacity in biomolecular recognition systems.
Project description:Photon pair sources are fundamental building blocks for quantum entanglement and quantum communication. Recent studies in silicon photonics have documented promising characteristics for photon pair sources within the telecommunications band, including sub-milliwatt optical pump power, high spectral brightness, and high photon purity. However, most quantum systems suitable for local operations, such as storage and computation, support optical transitions in the visible or short near-infrared bands. In comparison to telecommunications wavelengths, the significantly higher optical attenuation in silica at such wavelengths limits the length scale over which optical-fiber-based quantum communication between such local nodes can take place. One approach to connect such systems over fiber is through a photon pair source that can bridge the visible and telecom bands, but an appropriate source, which should produce narrow-band photon pairs with a high signal-to-noise ratio, has not yet been developed. Here, we demonstrate an on-chip visible-telecom photon pair source for the first time, using high quality factor silicon nitride microresonators to generate bright photon pairs with an unprecedented coincidence-to-accidental ratio (CAR) up to (3.8 ± 0.2) × 103. We further demonstrate dispersion engineering of the microresonators to enable the connection of different species of trapped atoms/ions, defect centers, and quantum dots to the telecommunications bands for future quantum communication systems.
Project description:The distributed nature of nervous systems makes it necessary to record from a large number of sites in order to decipher the neural code, whether single cell, local field potential (LFP), micro-electrocorticograms (?ECoG), electroencephalographic (EEG), magnetoencephalographic (MEG) or in vitro micro-electrode array (MEA) data are considered. High channel-count recordings also optimize the yield of a preparation and the efficiency of time invested by the researcher. Currently, data acquisition (DAQ) systems with high channel counts (>100) can be purchased from a limited number of companies at considerable prices. These systems are typically closed-source and thus prohibit custom extensions or improvements by end users. We have developed MANTA, an open-source MATLAB-based DAQ system, as an alternative to existing options. MANTA combines high channel counts (up to 1440 channels/PC), usage of analog or digital headstages, low per channel cost (<$90/channel), feature-rich display and filtering, a user-friendly interface, and a modular design permitting easy addition of new features. MANTA is licensed under the GPL and free of charge. The system has been tested by daily use in multiple setups for >1 year, recording reliably from 128 channels. It offers a growing list of features, including integrated spike sorting, PSTH and CSD display and fully customizable electrode array geometry (including 3D arrays), some of which are not available in commercial systems. MANTA runs on a typical PC and communicates via TCP/IP and can thus be easily integrated with existing stimulus generation/control systems in a lab at a fraction of the cost of commercial systems. With modern neuroscience developing rapidly, MANTA provides a flexible platform that can be rapidly adapted to the needs of new analyses and questions. Being open-source, the development of MANTA can outpace commercial solutions in functionality, while maintaining a low price-point.
Project description:Complex networks of interacting residues and microdomains in the structures of biomolecular systems underlie the reliable propagation of information from an input signal, such as the concentration of a ligand, to sites that generate the appropriate output signal, such as enzymatic activity. This information transduction often carries the signal across relatively large distances at the molecular scale in a form of allostery that is essential for the physiological functions performed by biomolecules. While allosteric behaviors have been documented from experiments and computation, the mechanism of this form of allostery proved difficult to identify at the molecular level. Here, we introduce a novel analysis framework, called N-body Information Theory (NbIT) analysis, which is based on information theory and uses measures of configurational entropy in a biomolecular system to identify microdomains and individual residues that act as (i)-channels for long-distance information sharing between functional sites, and (ii)-coordinators that organize dynamics within functional sites. Application of the new method to molecular dynamics (MD) trajectories of the occluded state of the bacterial leucine transporter LeuT identifies a channel of allosteric coupling between the functionally important intracellular gate and the substrate binding sites known to modulate it. NbIT analysis is shown also to differentiate residues involved primarily in stabilizing the functional sites, from those that contribute to allosteric couplings between sites. NbIT analysis of MD data thus reveals rigorous mechanistic elements of allostery underlying the dynamics of biomolecular systems.
Project description:Among mice, pheromones and other social odor cues convey information about sex, social status, and identity; however, the molecular nature of these cues is essentially unknown. To identify these cues, we screened chromatographic fractions of female mouse urine for their ability to cause reproducible firing rate increases in the pheromone-detecting vomeronasal sensory neurons (VSNs) using multielectrode array (MEA) recording. Active compounds were found to be remarkably homogenous in their basic properties, with most being of low molecular weight, moderate hydrophobicity, low volatility, and possessing a negative electric charge. Purification and structural analysis of active compounds revealed multiple sulfated steroids, of which two were identified as sulfated glucocorticoids, including corticosterone 21-sulfate. Sulfatase-treated urine extracts lost >80% of their activity, indicating that sulfated compounds are the predominant VSN ligands in female mouse urine. As measured by MEA recording, a collection of 31 synthetic sulfated steroids triggered responses 30-fold more frequently than did a similarly sized stimulus set containing the majority of all previously reported VSN ligands. Collectively, VSNs detected all major classes of sulfated steroids, but individual neurons were sensitive to small variations in chemical structure. VSNs from both males and females detected sulfated steroids, but knock-outs for the sensory transduction channel TRPC2 did not detect these compounds. Urine concentrations of the two sulfated glucocorticoids increased many fold in stressed animals, indicating that information about physiological status is encoded by the urine concentration of particular sulfated steroids. These results provide an unprecedented characterization of the signals available for chemical communication among mice.
Project description:We introduce a novel approach for elucidating the potential pathways of allosteric communication in biomolecular systems. The methodology, based on Markov propagation of 'information' across the structure, permits us to partition the network of interactions into soft clusters distinguished by their coherent stochastics. Probabilistic participation of residues in these clusters defines the communication patterns inherent to the network architecture. Application to bacterial chaperonin complex GroEL-GroES, an allostery-driven structure, identifies residues engaged in intra- and inter-subunit communication, including those acting as hubs and messengers. A number of residues are distinguished by their high potentials to transmit allosteric signals, including Pro33 and Thr90 at the nucleotide-binding site and Glu461 and Arg197 mediating inter- and intra-ring communication, respectively. We propose two most likely pathways of signal transmission, between nucleotide- and GroES-binding sites across the cis and trans rings, which involve several conserved residues. A striking observation is the opposite direction of information flow within cis and trans rings, consistent with negative inter-ring cooperativity. Comparison with collective modes deduced from normal mode analysis reveals the propensity of global hinge regions to act as messengers in the transmission of allosteric signals.
Project description:Information is a physical entity amenable to be described by an abstract theory. The concepts associated with the creation and post-processing of the information have not, however, been mathematically established, despite being broadly used in many fields of knowledge. Here, inspired by how information is managed in biomolecular systems, we introduce writing, entailing any bit string generation, and revision, as comprising proofreading and editing, in information chains. Our formalism expands the thermodynamic analysis of stochastic chains made up of material subunits to abstract strings of symbols. We introduce a non-Markovian treatment of operational rules over the symbols of the chain that parallels the physical interactions responsible for memory effects in material chains. Our theory underlies any communication system, ranging from human languages and computer science to gene evolution.
Project description:Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are ubiquitous environmental and occupational toxicants, which are a major human health concern in the U.S. and abroad. Previous research has focused on the genotoxic events caused by high molecular weight PAHs, but not on non-genotoxic events elicited by low molecular weight PAHs. We used an isomeric pair of low molecular weight PAHs, namely 1-Methylanthracene (1-MeA) and 2-Methylanthracene (2-MeA), in which only 1-MeA possessed a bay-like region, and hypothesized that 1-MeA, but not 2-MeA, would affect non-genotoxic endpoints relevant to tumor promotion in murine C10 lung cells, a non-tumorigenic type II alveolar pneumocyte and progenitor cell type of lung adenocarcinoma. The non-genotoxic endpoints assessed were dysregulation of gap junction intercellular communication function and changes in the major pulmonary connexin protein, connexin 43, using fluorescent redistribution and immunoblots, activation of mitogen activated protein kinases (MAPK) using phosphospecific MAPK antibodies for immunoblots, and induction of inflammatory genes using quantitative RT-PCR. 2-MeA had no effect on any of the endpoints, but 1-MeA dysregulated gap junctional communication in a dose and time dependent manner, reduced connexin 43 protein expression, and altered membrane localization. 1-MeA also activated ERK1/2 and p38 MAP kinases. Inflammatory genes, such as cyclooxygenase 2, and chemokine ligand 2 (macrophage chemoattractant 2), were also upregulated in response to 1-MeA only. These results indicate a possible structure-activity relationship of these low molecular weight PAHs relevant to non-genotoxic endpoints of the promoting aspects of cancer. Therefore, our novel findings may improve the ability to predict outcomes for future studies with additional toxicants and mixtures, identify novel targets for biomarkers and chemotherapeutics, and have possible implications for future risk assessment for these PAHs.
Project description:<h4>Unlabelled</h4><h4>Background</h4>Evolution has selected for organisms that benefit from genetically encoded cell-cell communication. Engineers have begun to repurpose elements of natural communication systems to realize programmed pattern formation and coordinate other population-level behaviors. However, existing engineered systems rely on system-specific small molecules to send molecular messages among cells. Thus, the information transmission capacity of current engineered biological communication systems is physically limited by specific biomolecules that are capable of sending only a single message, typically "regulate transcription."<h4>Results</h4>We have engineered a cell-cell communication platform using bacteriophage M13 gene products to autonomously package and deliver heterologous DNA messages of varying lengths and encoded functions. We demonstrate the decoupling of messages from a common communication channel via the autonomous transmission of various arbitrary genetic messages. Further, we increase the range of engineered DNA messaging across semisolid media by linking message transmission or receipt to active cellular chemotaxis.<h4>Conclusions</h4>We demonstrate decoupling of a communication channel from message transmission within engineered biological systems via the autonomous targeted transduction of user-specified heterologous DNA messages. We also demonstrate that bacteriophage M13 particle production and message transduction occurs among chemotactic bacteria. We use chemotaxis to improve the range of DNA messaging, increasing both transmission distance and communication bit rates relative to existing small molecule-based communication systems. We postulate that integration of different engineered cell-cell communication platforms will allow for more complex spatial programming of dynamic cellular consortia.
Project description:Action potentials can be recorded extracellularly from hundreds of neurons simultaneously with multi-electrode arrays. These can typically have as many as 120 or more electrodes. The brief duration of action potentials requires a high sampling frequency to reliably capture each waveform. The resulting raw data files are therefore large and difficult to visualize with traditional plotting tools. Common approaches to deal with the difficulties of data display, such as extracting spike times and performing spike train analysis, are useful in many contexts but they also significantly reduce data dimensionality. The use of tools which minimize data processing enable the development of heuristic perspective of experimental results. Here we introduce MEA Viewer, a high-performance open source application for the direct visualization of multi-channel electrophysiological data. MEA Viewer includes several high-performance visualizations, including an easily navigable overview of recorded extracellular action potentials from all data channels overlaid with spike timestamp data and an interactive raster plot. MEA Viewer can also display the two dimensional extent of action potential propagation in single neurons by signal averaging extracellular action potentials (eAPs) from single neurons detected on multiple electrodes. This view extracts and displays eAP timing information and eAP waveforms that are otherwise below the spike detection threshold. This entirely new method of using MEAs opens up novel research applications for medium density arrays. MEA Viewer is licensed under the General Public License version 3, GPLv3, and is available at http://github.com/dbridges/mea-tools.
Project description:Mass spectrometry (MS) is the enabling technology for proteomics and metabolomics. However, dramatic improvements in both sensitivity and throughput are still required to achieve routine MS-based single cell proteomics and metabolomics. Here, we report the silicon-based monolithic multinozzle emitter array (MEA) and demonstrate its proof-of-principle applications in high-sensitivity and high-throughput nanoelectrospray mass spectrometry. Our MEA consists of 96 identical 10-nozzle emitters in a circular array on a 3 in. silicon chip. The geometry and configuration of the emitters, the dimension and number of the nozzles, and the micropillar arrays embedded in the main channel can be systematically and precisely controlled during the microfabrication process. Combining electrostatic simulation and experimental testing, we demonstrated that sharpened-end geometry at the stem of the individual multinozzle emitter significantly enhanced the electric fields at its protruding nozzle tips, enabling sequential nanoelectrospray for the high-density emitter array. We showed that electrospray current of the multinozzle emitter at a given total flow rate was approximately proportional to the square root of the number of its spraying-nozzles, suggesting the capability of high MS sensitivity for multinozzle emitters. Using a conventional Z-spray mass spectrometer, we demonstrated reproducible MS detection of peptides and proteins for serial MEA emitters, achieving sensitivity and stability comparable to the commercial capillary emitters. Our robust silicon-based MEA chip opens up the possibility of a fully integrated microfluidic system for ultrahigh-sensitivity and ultrahigh-throughput proteomics and metabolomics.