skip to main content

Title: Multiplexed and high-throughput neuronal fluorescence imaging with diffusible probes

Synapses contain hundreds of distinct proteins whose heterogeneous expression levels are determinants of synaptic plasticity and signal transmission relevant to a range of diseases. Here, we use diffusible nucleic acid imaging probes to profile neuronal synapses using multiplexed confocal and super-resolution microscopy. Confocal imaging is performed using high-affinity locked nucleic acid imaging probes that stably yet reversibly bind to oligonucleotides conjugated to antibodies and peptides. Super-resolution PAINT imaging of the same targets is performed using low-affinity DNA imaging probes to resolve nanometer-scale synaptic protein organization across nine distinct protein targets. Our approach enables the quantitative analysis of thousands of synapses in neuronal culture to identify putative synaptic sub-types and co-localization patterns from one dozen proteins. Application to characterize synaptic reorganization following neuronal activity blockade reveals coordinated upregulation of the post-synaptic proteins PSD-95, SHANK3 and Homer-1b/c, as well as increased correlation between synaptic markers in the active and synaptic vesicle zones.

; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Nature Publishing Group
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Vesicular release from neurons promotes myelin sheath growth on axons. Oligodendrocytes express proteins that allow dendrites to respond to vesicular release at synapses, suggesting that axon-myelin contacts use similar communication mechanisms as synapses to form myelin sheaths. To test this, we used fusion proteins to track synaptic vesicle localization and membrane fusion in zebrafish during developmental myelination and investigated expression and localization of PSD95, a dendritic post-synaptic protein, within oligodendrocytes. Synaptic vesicles accumulate and exocytose at ensheathment sites with variable patterning and most sheaths localize PSD95 with patterning similar to exocytosis site location. Disruption of candidate PDZ-binding transsynaptic adhesionmore »proteins in oligodendrocytes cause variable effects on sheath length and number. One candidate, Cadm1b, localizes to myelin sheaths where both PDZ binding and extracellular adhesion to axons mediate sheath growth. Our work raises the possibility that axon-glial communication contributes to myelin plasticity, providing new targets for mechanistic unraveling of developmental myelination.

    « less
  2. Abstract

    Self-associating split fluorescent proteins (FPs) are split FPs whose two fragments spontaneously associate to form a functional FP. They have been widely used for labeling proteins, scaffolding protein assembly and detecting cell-cell contacts. Recently developments have expanded the palette of self-associating split FPs beyond the original split GFP1-10/11. However, these new ones have suffered from suboptimal fluorescence signal after complementation. Here, by investigating the complementation process, we have demonstrated two approaches to improve split FPs: assistance through SpyTag/SpyCatcher interaction and directed evolution. The latter has yielded two split sfCherry3 variants with substantially enhanced overall brightness, facilitating the tagging ofmore »endogenous proteins by gene editing. Based on sfCherry3, we have further developed a new red-colored trans-synaptic marker called Neuroligin-1 sfCherry3 Linker Across Synaptic Partners (NLG-1 CLASP) for multiplexed visualization of neuronal synapses in livingC.elegans, demonstrating its broad applications.

    « less
  3. Neuronal synapses transmit electrochemical signals between cells through the coordinated action of presynaptic vesicles, ion channels, scaffolding and adapter proteins, and membrane receptors. In situ structural characterization of numerous synaptic proteins simultaneously through multiplexed imaging facilitates a bottom-up approach to synapse classification and phenotypic description. Objective automation of efficient and reliable synapse detection within these datasets is essential for the high-throughput investigation of synaptic features. Convolutional neural networks can solve this generalized problem of synapse detection, however, these architectures require large numbers of training examples to optimize their thousands of parameters. We propose DoGNet, a neural network architecture that closesmore »the gap between classical computer vision blob detectors, such as Difference of Gaussians (DoG) filters, and modern convolutional networks. DoGNet is optimized to analyze highly multiplexed microscopy data. Its small number of training parameters allows DoGNet to be trained with few examples, which facilitates its application to new datasets without overfitting. We evaluate the method on multiplexed fluorescence imaging data from both primary mouse neuronal cultures and mouse cortex tissue slices. We show that DoGNet outperforms convolutional networks with a low-to-moderate number of training examples, and DoGNet is efficiently transferred between datasets collected from separate research groups. DoGNet synapse localizations can then be used to guide the segmentation of individual synaptic protein locations and spatial extents, revealing their spatial organization and relative abundances within individual synapses. The source code is publicly available:« less
  4. Abstract

    DNA is a compelling alternative to non-volatile information storage technologies due to its information density, stability, and energy efficiency. Previous studies have used artificially synthesized DNA to store data and automated next-generation sequencing to read it back. Here, we report digital Nucleic Acid Memory (dNAM) for applications that require a limited amount of data to have high information density, redundancy, and copy number. In dNAM, data is encoded by selecting combinations of single-stranded DNA with (1) or without (0) docking-site domains. When self-assembled with scaffold DNA, staple strands form DNA origami breadboards. Information encoded into the breadboards is readmore »by monitoring the binding of fluorescent imager probes using DNA-PAINT super-resolution microscopy. To enhance data retention, a multi-layer error correction scheme that combines fountain and bi-level parity codes is used. As a prototype, fifteen origami encoded with ‘Data is in our DNA!\n’ are analyzed. Each origami encodes unique data-droplet, index, orientation, and error-correction information. The error-correction algorithms fully recover the message when individual docking sites, or entire origami, are missing. Unlike other approaches to DNA-based data storage, reading dNAM does not require sequencing. As such, it offers an additional path to explore the advantages and disadvantages of DNA as an emerging memory material.

    « less
  5. Abstract

    Chromatin remodeling proteins of the chromodomain DNA-binding protein family, CHD7 and CHD8, mediate early neurodevelopmental events including neural migration and differentiation. As such, mutations in either protein can lead to neurodevelopmental disorders. How chromatin remodeling proteins influence the activity of mature synapses, however, is relatively unexplored. A critical feature of mature neurons is well-regulated endocytosis, which is vital for synaptic function to recycle membrane and synaptic proteins enabling the continued release of synaptic vesicles. Here we show that Kismet, theDrosophilahomolog of CHD7 and CHD8, regulates endocytosis. Kismet positively influenced transcript levels and bound todap160andendophilin Btranscription start sites and promotersmore »in whole nervous systems and influenced the synaptic localization of Dynamin/Shibire. In addition,kismetmutants exhibit reduced VGLUT, a synaptic vesicle marker, at stimulated but not resting synapses and reduced levels of synaptic Rab11. Endocytosis is restored atkismetmutant synapses by pharmacologically inhibiting the function of histone deacetyltransferases (HDACs). These data suggest that HDAC activity may oppose Kismet to promote synaptic vesicle endocytosis. A deeper understanding of how CHD proteins regulate the function of mature neurons will help better understand neurodevelopmental disorders.

    « less