Doctor of Philosophy, Stanford University, APLPH-PHD (2014)
Ingenieur, Ecole Polytechnique, Physics (2006)
Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is characterized by debilitating, recurring seizures and an increased risk for cognitive deficits. Mossy cells (MCs) are key neurons in the hippocampal excitatory circuit, and the partial loss of MCs is a major hallmark of TLE. We investigated how MCs contribute to spontaneous ictal activity and to spatial contextual memory in a mouse model of TLE with hippocampal sclerosis, using a combination of optogenetic, electrophysiological, and behavioral approaches. In chronically epileptic mice, real-time optogenetic modulation of MCs during spontaneous hippocampal seizures controlled the progression of activity from an electrographic to convulsive seizure. Decreased MC activity is sufficient to impede encoding of spatial context, recapitulating observed cognitive deficits in chronically epileptic mice.
View details for DOI 10.1126/science.aan4074
Decades of study of the RNA folding problem have revealed that diverse and complex structured RNAs are built from a common set of recurring structural motifs, leading to the perspective that a generalizable model of RNA folding may be developed from understanding of the folding properties of individual structural motifs. We used single-molecule fluorescence to dissect the kinetic and thermodynamic properties of a set of variants of a common tertiary structural motif, the tetraloop/tetraloop-receptor (TL/TLR). Our results revealed a multistep TL/TLR folding pathway in which preorganization of the ubiquitous AA-platform submotif precedes the formation of the docking transition state and tertiary A-minor hydrogen bond interactions form after the docking transition state. Differences in ion dependences between TL/TLR variants indicated the occurrence of sequence-dependent conformational rearrangements prior to and after the formation of the docking transition state. Nevertheless, varying the junction connecting the TL/TLR produced a common kinetic and ionic effect for all variants, suggesting that the global conformational search and compaction electrostatics are energetically independent from the formation of the tertiary motif contacts. We also found that in vitro-selected variants, despite their similar stability at high Mg2+ concentrations, are considerably less stable than natural variants under near-physiological ionic conditions, and the occurrence of the TL/TLR sequence variants in Nature correlates with their thermodynamic stability in isolation. Overall, our findings are consistent with modular but complex energetic properties of RNA structural motifs and will aid in the eventual quantitative description of RNA folding from its secondary and tertiary structural elements.
View details for DOI 10.1021/jacs.7b08870
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5748328
The past decade has seen a wealth of 3D structural information about complex structured RNAs and identification of functional intermediates. Nevertheless, developing a complete and predictive understanding of the folding and function of these RNAs in biology will require connection of individual rate and equilibrium constants to structural changes that occur in individual folding steps and further relating these steps to the properties and behavior of isolated, simplified systems. To accomplish these goals we used the considerable structural knowledge of the folded, unfolded, and intermediate states of P4-P6 RNA. We enumerated structural states and possible folding transitions and determined rate and equilibrium constants for the transitions between these states using single-molecule FRET with a series of mutant P4-P6 variants. Comparisons with simplified constructs containing an isolated tertiary contact suggest that a given tertiary interaction has a stereotyped rate for breaking that may help identify structural transitions within complex RNAs and simplify the prediction of folding kinetics and thermodynamics for structured RNAs from their parts. The preferred folding pathway involves initial formation of the proximal tertiary contact. However, this preference was only ∼10 fold and could be reversed by a single point mutation, indicating that a model akin to a protein-folding contact order model will not suffice to describe RNA folding. Instead, our results suggest a strong analogy with a modified RNA diffusion-collision model in which tertiary elements within preformed secondary structures collide, with the success of these collisions dependent on whether the tertiary elements are in their rare binding-competent conformations.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1525082113
View details for PubMedID 27493222
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5003260
The Golgi is decorated with coiled-coil proteins that may extend long distances to help vesicles find their targets. GCC185 is a trans Golgi-associated protein that captures vesicles inbound from late endosomes. Although predicted to be relatively rigid and highly extended, we show that flexibility in a central region is required for GCC185's ability to function in a vesicle tethering cycle. Proximity ligation experiments show that that GCC185's N-and C-termini are within.
View details for DOI 10.7554/eLife.12790
View details for PubMedID 26653856
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4721967