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Shen Y.,University of Alberta | Chen Y.,University of Alberta | Wu J.,University of Alberta | Shaner N.C.,Scintillon Institute | Campbell R.E.,University of Alberta
PLoS ONE | Year: 2017

MCherry, the Discosoma sp. mushroom coral-derived monomeric red fluorescent protein (RFP), is a commonly used genetically encoded fluorophore for live cell fluorescence imaging. We have used a combination of protein design and directed evolution to develop mCherry variants with low cytotoxicity to Escherichia coli and altered excitation and emission profiles. These efforts ultimately led to a long Stokes shift (LSS)-mCherry variant (ëex = 460 nm and ëem = 610 nm) and a red-shifted (RDS)-mCherry variant (ëex = 600 nm and ëem = 630 nm). These new RFPs provide insight into the influence of the chromophore environment on mCherry's fluorescence properties, and may serve as templates for the future development of fluorescent probes for live cell imaging. © 2017 Shen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Zhu S.,Xiamen University | Ma L.,Xiamen University | Wang S.,Xiamen University | Chen C.,Xiamen University | And 6 more authors.
ACS Nano | Year: 2014

Ultrasensitive detection and characterization of single nanoparticles (<100 nm) is important in nanotechnology and life sciences. Direct measurement of the elastically scattered light from individual nanoparticles represents the simplest and the most direct method for particle detection. However, the sixth-power dependence of scattering intensity on particle size renders very small particles indistinguishable from the background. Adopting strategies for single-molecule fluorescence detection in a sheathed flow, here we report the development of high sensitivity flow cytometry (HSFCM) that achieves real-time light-scattering detection of single silica and gold nanoparticles as small as 24 and 7 nm in diameter, respectively. This unprecedented sensitivity enables high-resolution sizing of single nanoparticles directly based on their scattered intensity. With a resolution comparable to that of TEM and the ease and speed of flow cytometric analysis, HSFCM is particularly suitable for nanoparticle size distribution analysis of polydisperse/heterogeneous/mixed samples. Through concurrent fluorescence detection, simultaneous insights into the size and payload variations of engineered nanoparticles are demonstrated with two forms of clinical nanomedicine. By offering quantitative multiparameter analysis of single nanoparticles in liquid suspensions at a throughput of up to 10 000 particles per minute, HSFCM represents a major advance both in light-scattering detection technology and in nanoparticle characterization. © 2014 American Chemical Society.


Shaner N.C.,Scintillon Institute | Shaner N.C.,Allele Biotechnologyandpharmaceuticals Inc | Lambert G.G.,Scintillon Institute | Chammas A.,Allele Biotechnologyandpharmaceuticals Inc | And 10 more authors.
Nature Methods | Year: 2013

We report a monomeric yellow-green fluorescent protein, mNeonGreen, derived from a tetrameric fluorescent protein from the cephalochordate Branchiostoma lanceolatum. mNeonGreen is the brightest monomeric green or yellow fluorescent protein yet described to our knowledge, performs exceptionally well as a fusion tag for traditional imaging as well as stochastic single-molecule superresolution imaging and is an excellent fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) acceptor for the newest cyan fluorescent proteins. © 2013 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.


Wang G.,Boston Childrens Hospital | McCain M.L.,Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering | Yang L.,Harvard University | He A.,Boston Childrens Hospital | And 28 more authors.
Nature Medicine | Year: 2014

Study of monogenic mitochondrial cardiomyopathies may yield insights into mitochondrial roles in cardiac development and disease. Here, we combined patient-derived and genetically engineered induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) with tissue engineering to elucidate the pathophysiology underlying the cardiomyopathy of Barth syndrome (BTHS), a mitochondrial disorder caused by mutation of the gene encoding tafazzin (TAZ). Using BTHS iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs), we defined metabolic, structural and functional abnormalities associated with TAZ mutation. BTHS iPSC-CMs assembled sparse and irregular sarcomeres, and engineered BTHS 'heart-on-chip' tissues contracted weakly. Gene replacement and genome editing demonstrated that TAZ mutation is necessary and sufficient for these phenotypes. Sarcomere assembly and myocardial contraction abnormalities occurred in the context of normal whole-cell ATP levels. Excess levels of reactive oxygen species mechanistically linked TAZ mutation to impaired cardiomyocyte function. Our study provides new insights into the pathogenesis of Barth syndrome, suggests new treatment strategies and advances iPSC-based in vitro modeling of cardiomyopathy. © 2014 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.


PubMed | Scintillon Institute, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, ETH Zurich and University of California at San Diego
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of molecular biology | Year: 2016

S-Nitrosylation is well established as an important post-translational regulator in protein function and signaling. However, relatively little is known about its structural and dynamical consequences. We have investigated the effects of S-nitrosylation on the rhodanese domain of the Escherichia coli integral membrane protein YgaP by NMR, X-ray crystallography, and mass spectrometry. The results show that the active cysteine in the rhodanese domain of YgaP is subjected to two competing modifications: S-nitrosylation and S-sulfhydration, which are naturally occurring in vivo. It has been observed that in addition to inhibition of the sulfur transfer activity, S-nitrosylation of the active site residue Cys63 causes an increase in slow motion and a displacement of helix 5 due to a weakening of the interaction between the active site and the helix dipole. These findings provide an example of how nitrosative stress can exert action at the atomic level.


PubMed | Scintillon Institute, Scripps Research Institute, Sanford Burnham Institute for Medical Research and University of California at San Diego
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2016

Recent studies have pointed to protein S-nitrosylation as a critical regulator of cellular redox homeostasis. For example, S-nitrosylation of peroxiredoxin-2 (Prx2), a peroxidase widely expressed in mammalian neurons, inhibits both enzymatic activity and protective function against oxidative stress. Here, using in vitro and in vivo approaches, we identify a role and reaction mechanism of the reductase sulfiredoxin (Srxn1) as an enzyme that denitrosylates (thus removing -SNO) from Prx2 in an ATP-dependent manner. Accordingly, by decreasing S-nitrosylated Prx2 (SNO-Prx2), overexpression of Srxn1 protects dopaminergic neural cells and human-induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived neurons from NO-induced hypersensitivity to oxidative stress. The pathophysiological relevance of this observation is suggested by our finding that SNO-Prx2 is dramatically increased in murine and human Parkinsons disease (PD) brains. Our findings therefore suggest that Srxn1 may represent a therapeutic target for neurodegenerative disorders such as PD that involve nitrosative/oxidative stress.


PubMed | Scintillon Institute, Nagase CO., Sanford Burnham Institute for Medical Research and University of California at San Diego
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Cell death & disease | Year: 2016

Alzheimers disease (AD) is characterized by synaptic and neuronal loss, which occurs at least partially through oxidative stress induced by oligomeric amyloid- (A)-peptide. Carnosic acid (CA), a chemical found in rosemary and sage, is a pro-electrophilic compound that is converted to its active form by oxidative stress. The active form stimulates the Keap1/Nrf2 transcriptional pathway and thus production of phase 2 antioxidant enzymes. We used both in vitro and in vivo models. For in vitro studies, we evaluated protective effects of CA on primary neurons exposed to oligomeric A. For in vivo studies, we used two transgenic mouse models of AD, human amyloid precursor protein (hAPP)-J20 mice and triple transgenic (3xTg AD) mice. We treated these mice trans-nasally with CA twice weekly for 3 months. Subsequently, we performed neurobehavioral tests and quantitative immunohistochemistry to assess effects on AD-related phenotypes, including learning and memory, and synaptic damage. In vitro, CA reduced dendritic spine loss in rat neurons exposed to oligomeric A. In vivo, CA treatment of hAPP-J20 mice improved learning and memory in the Morris water maze test. Histologically, CA increased dendritic and synaptic markers, and decreased astrogliosis, A plaque number, and phospho-tau staining in the hippocampus. We conclude that CA exhibits therapeutic benefits in rodent AD models and since the FDA has placed CA on the generally regarded as safe (GRAS) list, thus obviating the need for safety studies, human clinical trials will be greatly expedited.


Shaner N.C.,Scintillon Institute
Methods in Cell Biology | Year: 2014

More than 20 years after their discovery, fluorescent proteins (FPs) continue to be the subject of massive engineering efforts yielding continued improvements. Among these efforts are many aspects that should be of great interest to quantitative imaging users. With new variants frequently introduced into the research community, "tried and true" FPs that have been relied on for many years may now be due for upgrades to more modern variants. However, the dizzying array of FPs now available can make the initial act of narrowing down the potential choices an intimidating prospect. This chapter describes the FP properties that most strongly impact their performance in quantitative imaging experiments, along with their physical origins as they are currently understood. A workflow for evaluating a given FP in the researcher's chosen experimental system (e.g., a specific cell line) is described. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.


Nolan J.P.,Scintillon Institute
Current Protocols in Cytometry | Year: 2015

Evidence suggests that extracellular vesicles (EVs) can play roles in physiology and pathology, providing impetus to explore their use as diagnostic and therapeutic targets. However, EVs are also small, heterogeneous, and difficult to measure, and so this potential has not yet been realized. The development of improved approaches to EV detection and characterization will be critical to further understanding their roles in physiology and disease. Flow cytometry has been a popular tool for measuring cell-derived EVs, but has often been used in an uncritical manner in which fundamental principles and limitations of the instrument are ignored. Recent efforts to standardize procedures and document the effects of different methodologies have helped to address this shortcoming, butmuchwork remains. In this paper, I address some of the instrument, reagent, and analysis considerations relevant to measurement of individual EVs in flow, with the aim of clarifying a path to quantitative and standardized measurement of these interesting and potentially important biological nanoparticles. © 2015 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


PubMed | Scintillon Institute and University of California at San Diego
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Trends in pharmacological sciences | Year: 2016

At physiological levels, nitric oxide (NO) contributes to the maintenance of normal neuronal activity and survival, thus serving as an important regulatory mechanism in the central nervous system. By contrast, accumulating evidence suggests that exposure to environmental toxins or the normal aging process can trigger excessive production of reactive oxygen/nitrogen species (such as NO), contributing to the etiology of several neurodegenerative diseases. We highlight here protein S-nitrosylation, resulting from covalent attachment of an NO group to a cysteine thiol of the target protein, as a ubiquitous effector of NO signaling in both health and disease. We review our current understanding of this redox-dependent post-translational modification under neurodegenerative conditions, and evaluate how targeting dysregulated protein S-nitrosylation can lead to novel therapeutics.

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