There is a continuing need for driver strains to enable cell type-specific manipulation in the nervous system. Each cell type expresses a unique set of genes, and recapitulating expression of marker genes by BAC transgenesis or knock-in has generated useful transgenic mouse lines. However since genes are often expressed in many cell types, many of these lines have relatively broad expression patterns. We report an alternative transgenic approach capturing distal enhancers for more focused expression. We identified an enhancer trap probe often producing restricted reporter expression and developed efficient enhancer trap screening with the PiggyBac transposon. We established more than 200 lines and found many lines that label small subsets of neurons in brain substructures, including known and novel cell types. Images and other information about each line are available online (enhancertrap.bio.brandeis.edu).
Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All of the animals were handled according to approved institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) protocols (#14004) of Brandeis University. All surgery was performed under ketamine and xylazine anesthesia, and every effort was made to minimize suffering.
- Liqun Luo, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stanford University, United States
© 2016, Shima et al.
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Mathys et al. conducted the first single-nucleus RNA-seq (snRNA-seq) study of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) (Mathys et al., 2019). With bulk RNA-seq, changes in gene expression across cell types can be lost, potentially masking the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) across different cell types. Through the use of single-cell techniques, the authors benefitted from increased resolution with the potential to uncover cell type-specific DEGs in AD for the first time. However, there were limitations in both their data processing and quality control and their differential expression analysis. Here, we correct these issues and use best-practice approaches to snRNA-seq differential expression, resulting in 549 times fewer DEGs at a false discovery rate of 0.05. Thus, this study highlights the impact of quality control and differential analysis methods on the discovery of disease-associated genes and aims to refocus the AD research field away from spuriously identified genes.
The strength of a fear memory significantly influences whether it drives adaptive or maladaptive behavior in the future. Yet, how mild and strong fear memories differ in underlying biology is not well understood. We hypothesized that this distinction may not be exclusively the result of changes within specific brain regions, but rather the outcome of collective changes in connectivity across multiple regions within the neural network. To test this, rats were fear conditioned in protocols of varying intensities to generate mild or strong memories. Neuronal activation driven by recall was measured using c-fos immunohistochemistry in 12 brain regions implicated in fear learning and memory. The interregional coordinated brain activity was computed and graph-based functional networks were generated to compare how mild and strong fear memories differ at the systems level. Our results show that mild fear recall is supported by a well-connected brain network with small-world properties in which the amygdala is well-positioned to be modulated by other regions. In contrast, this connectivity is disrupted in strong fear memories and the amygdala is isolated from other regions. These findings indicate that the neural systems underlying mild and strong fear memories differ, with implications for understanding and treating disorders of fear dysregulation.