Micro Mornings

B180 BBB


Doors open at 9:00am for socializing and breakfast

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

"Directed evolution of a prokaryotic repressor for sensing neurotransmitters"

Xiaozhe Ding 

Gradinaru Lab

Neurotransmitters are molecules that mediate inter-neuron signal transmissions, which play important roles in neural computation. However, there is a lack of tools for imaging dynamics of neurotransmitters in vivo. Prokaryotic repressors constitute a natural library of genetic regulators that sense a variety of small molecules. We identified a TetR family repressor that showed promiscuous sensitivity to melatonin. After 5 rounds of directed evolution, we found a group of repressor variants with >20 fold sensitivity and improved specificity to melatonin. The repressors will provide a powerful toolkit for development of genetically encoded neurotransmitter sensors and targeted expression of neural modulators.

"Drosophila locomotor behavior is modulated by select commensal bacteria"

Catherine Schretter

Mazmanian Lab

Locomotion is critical for the survival and propagation of many animals and various physiological factors shape this behavior. Commensal bacteria have emerged as a contributing factor to host physiology; however, bacterial influences on locomotor behavior and the mechanisms involved remain largely unknown. We have found significant differences in the gait, average speed, and daily activity of adult fruit flies without a microbiota (axenic) compared to those with a diverse community of bacteria (conventional). Mono-colonization experiments have revealed that only specific species from Acetobacteraceae and Lactobacillaceae influence locomotor behavior. Bacterial products, most likely those containing protein components, were sufficient to recapitulate these changes in host locomotion. While treatment did not affect food intake, these bacterial-derived products altered metabolic traits in the host. Furthermore, we found that the behavioral effects of these products are mediated through octopamine, which is the insect counterpart of norepinephrine.

Upcoming MicroMornings

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

CEMI Visitor

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Orphan and Rees Labs