skip to main content

Title: Probing and manipulating embryogenesis via nanoscale thermometry and temperature control

Understanding the coordination of cell-division timing is one of the outstanding questions in the field of developmental biology. One active control parameter of the cell-cycle duration is temperature, as it can accelerate or decelerate the rate of biochemical reactions. However, controlled experiments at the cellular scale are challenging, due to the limited availability of biocompatible temperature sensors, as well as the lack of practical methods to systematically control local temperatures and cellular dynamics. Here, we demonstrate a method to probe and control the cell-division timing inCaenorhabditis elegansembryos using a combination of local laser heating and nanoscale thermometry. Local infrared laser illumination produces a temperature gradient across the embryo, which is precisely measured by in vivo nanoscale thermometry using quantum defects in nanodiamonds. These techniques enable selective, controlled acceleration of the cell divisions, even enabling an inversion of division order at the two-cell stage. Our data suggest that the cell-cycle timing asynchrony of the early embryonic development inC. elegansis determined independently by individual cells rather than via cell-to-cell communication. Our method can be used to control the development of multicellular organisms and to provide insights into the regulation of cell-division timings as a consequence of local perturbations.

; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 14636-14641
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Stock, Ann M. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Chemotaxis and motility are important traits that support bacterial survival in various ecological niches and in pathogenic and symbiotic host interaction. Chemotactic stimuli are sensed by chemoreceptors or m ethyl-accepting c hemotaxis p roteins (MCPs), which direct the swimming behavior of the bacterial cell. In this study, we present evidence that the cellular abundance of chemoreceptors in the plant symbiont Sinorhizobium meliloti can be altered by the addition of several to as few as one amino acid residues and by including common epitope tags such as 3×FLAG and 6×His at their C termini. To further dissect this phenomenon and its underlying molecular mechanism, we focused on a detailed analysis of the amino acid sensor McpU. Controlled proteolysis is important for the maintenance of an appropriate stoichiometry of chemoreceptors and between chemoreceptors and chemotactic signaling proteins, which is essential for an optimal chemotactic response. We hypothesized that enhanced stability is due to interference with protease binding, thus affecting proteolytic efficacy. Location of the protease recognition site was defined through McpU stability measurements in a series of deletion and amino acid substitution mutants. Deletions in the putative protease recognition site had similar effects on McpU abundance, as did extensions at themore »C terminus. Our results provide evidence that the programmed proteolysis of chemotaxis proteins in S. meliloti is cell cycle regulated. This posttranslational control, together with regulatory pathways on the transcriptional level, limits the chemotaxis machinery to the early exponential growth phase. Our study identified parallels to cell cycle-dependent processes during asymmetric cell division in Caulobacter crescentus . IMPORTANCE The symbiotic bacterium Sinorhizobium meliloti contributes greatly to growth of the agriculturally valuable host plant alfalfa by fixing atmospheric nitrogen. Chemotaxis of S. meliloti cells toward alfalfa roots mediates this symbiosis. The present study establishes programmed proteolysis as a factor in the maintenance of the S. meliloti chemotaxis system. Knowledge about cell cycle-dependent, targeted, and selective proteolysis in S. meliloti is important to understand the molecular mechanisms of maintaining a suitable chemotaxis response. While the role of regulated protein turnover in the cell cycle progression of Caulobacter crescentus is well understood, these pathways are just beginning to be characterized in S. meliloti . In addition, our study should alert about the cautionary use of epitope tags for protein quantification.« less
  2. Abstract

    In this work, we report a simplified method to measure thermal conductivity from the typical Raman thermometry method by employing a much simpler dispersion relationship equation and the Debye function, instead of solving the heat equation. Unlike the typical Raman thermometry method, our new method only requires monitoring of the temperature-dependent Raman mode shifting without considering laser power-dependent Raman mode shifting. Thus, this new calculation method offers a simpler way to calculate the thermal conductivity of materials with great precision. As a model system, theβ-Ga2O3nanomembrane (NM) on a diamond substrate was prepared to measure thermal conductivity ofβ-Ga2O3NMs at different thicknesses (100 nm, 1000 nm, and 4000 nm). Furthermore, the phonon penetration depth was investigated to understand how deep phonons can be dispersed in the sample so as to guide the dimensional design parameter of the device from the thermal management perspective.

  3. Søgaard-Andersen, Lotte (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Precise control of the cell cycle is central to the physiology of all cells. In prior work we demonstrated that archaeal cells maintain a constant size; however, the regulatory mechanisms underlying the cell cycle remain unexplored in this domain of life. Here, we use genetics, functional genomics, and quantitative imaging to identify and characterize the novel CdrSL gene regulatory network in a model species of archaea. We demonstrate the central role of these ribbon-helix-helix family transcription factors in the regulation of cell division through specific transcriptional control of the gene encoding FtsZ2, a putative tubulin homolog. Using time-lapse fluorescence microscopy in live cells cultivated in microfluidics devices, we further demonstrate that FtsZ2 is required for cell division but not elongation. The cdrS-ftsZ2 locus is highly conserved throughout the archaeal domain, and the central function of CdrS in regulating cell division is conserved across hypersaline adapted archaea. We propose that the CdrSL-FtsZ2 transcriptional network coordinates cell division timing with cell growth in archaea. IMPORTANCE Healthy cell growth and division are critical for individual organism survival and species long-term viability. However, it remains unknown how cells of the domain Archaea maintain a healthy cell cycle. Understanding the archaeal cell cycle ismore »of paramount evolutionary importance given that an archaeal cell was the host of the endosymbiotic event that gave rise to eukaryotes. Here, we identify and characterize novel molecular players needed for regulating cell division in archaea. These molecules dictate the timing of cell septation but are dispensable for growth between divisions. Timing is accomplished through transcriptional control of the cell division ring. Our results shed light on mechanisms underlying the archaeal cell cycle, which has thus far remained elusive.« less
  4. Abstract Background

    Microbial co-cultures and consortia are of interest in cell-based molecular production and even as “smart” therapeutics in that one can take advantage of division of labor and specialization to expand both the range of available functions and mechanisms for control. The development of tools that enable coordination and modulation of consortia will be crucial for future application of multi-population cultures. In particular, these systems would benefit from an expanded toolset that enables orthogonal inter-strain communication.


    We created a co-culture for the synthesis of a redox-active phenazine signaling molecule, pyocyanin (PYO), by dividing its synthesis into the generation of its intermediate, phenazine carboxylic acid (PCA) from the first strain, followed by consumption of PCA and generation of PYO in a second strain. Interestingly, both PCA and PYO can be used to actuate gene expression in cells engineered with thesoxRSoxidative stress regulon, although importantly this signaling activity was found to depend on growth media. That is, like other signaling motifs in bacterial systems, the signaling activity is context dependent. We then used this co-culture’s phenazine signals in a tri-culture to modulate gene expression and production of three model products: quorum sensing molecule autoinducer-1 and two fluorescent marker proteins, eGFP and DsRed.more »We also showed how these redox-based signals could be intermingled with other quorum-sensing (QS) signals which are more commonly used in synthetic biology, to control complex behaviors. To provide control over product synthesis in the tri-cultures, we also showed how a QS-induced growth control module could guide metabolic flux in one population and at the same time guide overall tri-culture function. Specifically, we showed that phenazine signal recognition, enabled through the oxidative stress response regulonsoxRS,was dependent on media composition such that signal propagation within our parsed synthetic system could guide different desired outcomes based on the prevailing environment. In doing so, we expanded the range of signaling molecules available for coordination and the modes by which they can be utilized to influence overall function of a multi-population culture.


    Our results show that redox-based signaling can be intermingled with other quorum sensing signaling in ways that enable user-defined control of microbial consortia yielding various outcomes defined by culture medium. Further, we demonstrated the utility of our previously designed growth control module in influencing signal propagation and metabolic activity is unimpeded by orthogonal redox-based signaling. By exploring novel multi-modal strategies for guiding communication and consortia outcome, the concepts introduced here may prove to be useful for coordination of multiple populations within complex microbial systems.

    « less
  5. Abstract

    Aggregation of proteins is a prominent hallmark of virtually all neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases. Little progress has been made in their treatment to slow or prevent the formation of aggregates by post-translational modification and regulation of cellular responses to misfolded proteins. Here, we introduce a label-free, laser-based photothermal treatment of polyglutamine (polyQ) aggregates in aC. elegansnematode model of huntingtin-like polyQ aggregation. As a proof of principle, we demonstrated that nanosecond laser pulse-induced local photothermal heating can directly disrupt the aggregates so as to delay their accumulation, maintain motility, and extend the lifespan of treated nematodes. These beneficial effects were validated by confocal photothermal, fluorescence, and video imaging. The results obtained demonstrate that our theranostics platform, integrating photothermal therapy without drugs or other chemicals, combined with advanced imaging to monitor photothermal ablation of aggregates, initiates systemic recovery and thus validates the concept of aggregate-disruption treatments for neurodegenerative diseases in humans.