Ocean Bacteria Infected by Strange Looking Viruses
NCMIR researchers aided in the discovery of the most abundant virus in the ocean. This virus, called a Pelagiphage, attacks the most abundant microorganism in our oceans, a type of marine bacteria called SAR11, with significant implications for how carbon moves between the atmosphere and our oceans. SAR11, a bacterium that's the most abundant organism in the oceans, survives where most other cells would die and plays a major role in the planet's carbon cycle. It had been theorized that SAR11 was so small and widespread that it must be invulnerable to attack. Pelagiphages are so strange-looking that scientists previously didn't even recognize what they were. Read More >>
Accumulated Excess Protein Linked To Development Of Parkinson’s Disease By Progressively Disrupting Neuronal Function And Viability
NCMIR scientists have shown that overexpression of a protein called alpha-synuclein appears to disrupt vital recycling processes in neurons, starting with the terminal extensions of neurons and working its way back to the cells’ center, with the potential consequence of progressive degeneration and eventual cell death. Published in the February 6, 2013 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, this study has major implications for more fully understanding the causes and mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease (PD), a neurodegenerative movement disorder that affects an estimated 1 million Americans. Read More >>
Electron Microscopy Achieves A New APEX
Chemists from MIT together with NCMIR Scientists, Mark Ellisman, Tom Deerinck and Gina Sosinsky, have now designed a GFP equivalent for electron microscopy — a tag that allows scientists to label and visualize proteins with unprecedented clarity that offers much higher resolution than fluorescence microscopy. The new tag developed by Jeff Martell and Alice Ting, lead and senior authors of a paper describing the new tag in the Oct. 21 online edition of Nature Biotechnology, could help scientists pinpoint the locations of many cell proteins, providing new insight into those proteins’ functions. This new tag can label proteins throughout the cell — not only within mitochondria but also in the nucleus, the endoplasmic reticulum and the cytosol. Read More >>
It's Not What You Eat But When You Eat
Researchers at the Salk Institute led by Dr. Satchidananda Panda with NCMIR collaborators, published a provocative paper In the June issue of Cell Metabolism showing that mice fed a high calorie/high fat diet on a time restricted feeding schedule were protected against obesity and related complications compared to mice eating the same amount of calories ad libitum. Read More >>
New Insights into the Role of LRRK2 Mutations in the Pathogenesis of Parkinson's Disease
Mutations in the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) are associated with increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Kett and colleagues, in collaboration with researchers at NCMIR, have uncovered a novel association of mutant LRRK2 with microtubules using advanced labeling and microscopy techniques. In cultured neurons, LRRK2 mutations appear to enhanced LRRK2 oligomerization, causing it to form filamentous structures visible by light microscopy. Read More >>
Correlative Microscopy Webinar
On April 4, 2012, Mark Ellisman, NCMIR Director, participated in a webinar on “Correlative Microscopy” sponsored by the Biophysical Society, the Biophysical Journal and Cell Press. Moderated by Dr. Paul Wiseman, Associate Professor of Physics and Chemistry at McGill University, the topics in this webinar ranged from combining light, electron microscopy (both selectively stained thick section EM tomography or cryo-EM tomography) and soft X-ray tomography. Read More >>
NCMIR Researchers Help Create a Powerful New Probe for Light and Electron Microscopy
In the April 5th issue of PLoS Biology, NCMIR scientists, in a collaboration with a team led by Nobel laureate Roger Tsien, introduced a new fluorescent probe for correlated light and electron microscopy that overcomes many of the limitations previously encountered by researchers seeking to image cells and tissues at high resolution. Read More >>
UC San Diego's National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research (NCMIR) Instrumental in Huntington's Disease Breakthrough
Imagine being able to prevent certain death of nerve cells in the brain and visualizing the feat with the latest in electron microscope technology. That's just what a team of biomedical researchers did, including UC San Diego's own National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research (NCMIR), giving hope to Huntington's disease patients. Huntington’s disease is an inherited and incurable neurodegenerative disorder affecting 35,000 people annually and is caused by mutation of the gene encoding the huntingtin protein. Read More >>
New Research Reveals Unexpected Biological Pathway In Glaucoma
In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of researchers from the Kennedy Krieger Institute and four collaborating institutions, including the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research, identified a new and unexpected biological pathway that appears to contribute to the development of glaucoma and its resulting vision loss. Read More >>
Serial Block-Face Scanning Electron Microscopy at the 2010 Microscopy and Microanalysis Meeting
August 2010 — At the 2010 Microscopy and Microanalysis meeting in Portland, Oregon, NCMIR scientists presented their work "Enhancing Serial Block-Face Scanning Electron Microscopy to Enable High Resolution 3-D Nanohistology of Cells and Tissues," a collaboration with researchers Roger Tsien's laboratory at UCSD. Read More >>
NCMIR Scientists Provide the First Glimpse of Synthetic Life
Pioneering geneticist J. Craig Venter and colleagues announced the creation of the first synthetic life form, Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0 at a press conference in Washington, D.C. and NCMIR researchers were entrusted with obtaining the first images of this new organism. Read More >>
Sestrin Protects Fruit Flies From Age-Related Pathologies; NCMIR Image Featured on Cover of Science
NCMIR scientists were members of a team of researchers that studied the intricate link of TOR with sestrins, a family of highly conserved proteins whose expression is induced by stress. Read More >>
NCMIR’s Electron Tomography Resource Reveals Novel Mitochondrial Anchoring Scaffolds and Cristae Structured for High-rate Metabolism
Electron microscope tomography was used at the NCMIR to aid Prof. George Spirou (West Virginia University) in his investigation of the mitochondria-associated adherens complex (MAC) in the auditory brain stem and resulted in a publication in the J. Neuroscience. Read More >>
Direct Restriction of Virus Release and Incorporation of the Interferon-Induced Protein BST-2 into HIV-1 Particles.
In their paper, "Direct Restriction of Virus Release and Incorporation of the Interferon-Induced Protein BST-2 into HIV-1 Particles" published in PloS Pathogens, NMCIR researchers, in collaboration with Kathleen Fitzpatrick and John Guatelli of the UCSD School of Medicine show that the cellular protein BST-2 is involved in retaining newly formed HIV-1 virions on the surface of cells. Read More >>
Mitochondrial configurations in peripheral nerve suggest differential ATP production.
NCMIR researchers used electron tomography to examine mitochondria, the cell’s principal energy producers, in the peripheral nervous system (PNS) in a study that points to differential energy usage along neurons. The morphological diversity of mitochondria in neurons appears to be the rule rather than the exception as these cells are highly polar, being composed of dendrites, somas, synapses, and axons — compartments with differing functions, molecules, and energetic needs. Read More >>
New insights into mitochondrial structure during cell death.
In this research effort, NCMIR neuroscientists and investigators at the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Central Florida, examined the pivotal role mitochondria play in the cascade of events associated with cell death pathways involved with several forms of neurodegeneration. Read More >>
Three-dimensional electron microscopy reveals new details of membrane systems for Ca2+ signaling in the heart.
Using electron tomography, the NCMIR investigators in this study mapped the 3D topologies of dyadic clefts and associated membrane organelles in the mouse ventricular myocardium. Morphological details and the distribution of membrane systems, including transverse tubules (T-tubules), junctional sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) and vicinal mitochondria, involved in controlling cardiac Ca2+ dynamics, were determined. Read More >>
NCMIR scientists in combination with Salk Institute is the first to model axonal conduction to include a more realistic three-dimensional geometry of cellular microdomains.
Electrochemical signal transduction in cells depends on the subcellular organization of structural components, as well as on the electric profiles created by electrodiffusion of ions. Electrochemical diffusion is particularly important in nerve impulse transduction. With respect to neuronal cells and even at a higher systems level such as brain tissue, a fundamental question arises: how can seemingly similar cells such as neurons have such different electrophysiological properties from one another? Read More >>
NCMIR collaborators demonstrate the use of fluorescent quantum dots for tracking dendritic cells and priming an immune response in vitro and in vivo.
Dendritic cells play a key role in initiating adaptive immune response by presenting antigen to T cells in lymphoid organs. NCMIR collaborators Michael Cahalan, Debasish Sen and Ian Parker at the University of California Irvine along with NCMIR scientists Thomas Deerinck and Mark Ellisman investigated the potential of using quantum dots as fluorescent nanoparticles for in vitro and in vivo imaging of dendritic cells, and as a particle-based antigen-delivery system to enhance denditic cell-mediated immune responses. Read More >>
The CCDB Releases a New Version of Web Site to Make Sharing Microscopy Data Easier: http://ccdb.ucsd.edu.
Originally deployed in March 2002 under the auspices of NIH’s Human Brain Project, the Cell Centered Database (CCDB) accommodates the storage and manipulation of high-resolution 3D light and electron microscopic reconstructions and facilitates advanced electron tomography.
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NCMIR collaborators reveal how new neurons, born in the hippocampus, wire into the brain’s circuitry
Just over a decade ago the idea that the mammalian brain contains stem cells that divide and differentiate into new neurons continually throughout life was largely unimaginable. However, with the recent body of research showing that areas of the adult brain continually undergo neurogenesis, neuroscientists have adopted a new paradigm in thinking about the brain. Read More >>
UCSD Researchers Reveal Dynamic Behavior of Golgi Complex
Researchers at UC San Diego reveal new details about the life cycle of the Golgi apparatus—the organelle responsible for correctly sorting, targeting, and trafficking protein in our cells. Constructing a novel protein tag suitable for light microscopy and correlated high-resolution electron microscopy, the team overcame intrinsic problems in observing the Golgi while undergoing cell division.
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NCMIR researchers help biologists reveal greater structural detail.
In step with its mission of advancing the analysis of 3D structures in neurobiology and cell biology, a team of NCMIR researchers is helping biologists to take advantage of large-field electron microscope imaging developments for improving the resolution of 3D structures at the scale of proteins.
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4th International Congress on Electron Tomography (4ICET)
NCMIR organized and hosted the Fourth International Congress on Electron Tomography (ICET) in San Diego on November 5-8, 2006. Convened three times since 1997, this conference provides a forum for structural and cell biologists, materials and computational scientists, and others to exchange information about how electron tomography (ET) elucidates structure-function in cellular arrays and larger assemblies. Read More >>
NCMIR's Telescience is featured in Science Grid This Week
The Telescience™ Project started over a decade ago as an effort to make rare scientific instruments globally accessible. Researchers at the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research began developing technologies to remotely control bio-imaging instruments over the Internet, and in 1992 the first system was demonstrated when attendees at a conference in Chicago interactively acquired and viewed images from one of NCMIR's intermediate voltage electron microscopes in San Diego. Read More >>
NCMIR’s electron tomography reveals ultrastructural details about how a phytoplankton adapts to changes in light intensity
Tiffany Moisan of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center at Wallops Island Virgina teamed up with NCMIR researchers to investigate the morphological changes associated with a marine alga, Phaeocystis antarctica, grown in light-limiting and high light environments. Their study, reported in the journal Marine Biology, presents the first 3D structures determined by electron tomography of an ecologically important phytoplankton species. Read More >>
Studies of mouse models of human disease helped by NCMIR’s large-scale imaging expertise
Scientists studying the nervous system have long struggled to understand how higher order structures, such as cellular networks, are assembled out of finer building blocks, such as dendritic and axonal architectures. Mapping the entire neural structure is the key to elucidating brain function. In a forthcoming issue of Neuroinformatics, a team of NCMIR researchers report on their progress towards this central goal by describing new procedures to study brain architecture and to characterize pathological changes in transgenic mice, spanning millimeter- to nanometer-sized structures.
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NCMIR researcher wins second and eighth place in the Nikon International Small World Competition.
Nikon Corp has announced the winners of the 2005 Nikon International Small World Competition. Local NCMIR scientist Tom Deerinck garnered a second and an eighth place in the prestigious competition with his images of tissues stained with fluorescent quantum dots. According to Nikon: “The Nikon Small World competition recognizes the fusion of science and art as captured through the lens of the optical microscope. Read More >>
Quantum Dots allow NCMIR scientists image cellular and subcellular detail from a single preparation.
Cell biologists at UCSD’s National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research (NCMIR) demonstrate the suitability of Quantum dots (QDs) for determining the specific location of endogenous proteins in cells and tissues—using correlated light and electron imaging techniques. Read More >>
NCMIR and Salk Researchers “animate” synaptic transmission
In a collaboration between computational neuroscientists and neuroanatomists, researchers have created a 3-D, nano-scale “anatomically correct” neuronal synapse that provides new insights into the way synapses work. Efforts to model activities of the nervous system have generally required drastically simplifying the complex geometry of the brain and its microscopic components.
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3D Mouse Model Reveals Complex Structures of the Node of Ranvier
NCMIR researchers, in collaboration with the Salk Institute, have created a 3D model of the node of Ranvier, a complex structure found in the nervous system of higher vertebrates. The results will be published in an upcoming issue of Neuroinformatics. Read More >>
Tomography Method Improves Resolution in Thick Samples
A novel method for acquiring data for electron tomography dramatically increases resolution and usable section thickness of stained samples, according to a NCMIR study published in the December 2004 issue of the Journal of Structural Biology. Read More >>
Astrocytes Limit CNS Regeneration
Investigators at Göteborg University and the University of Southern California found astrocytes play a significant role in limiting the regenerative capacity of the central nervous system. In the May 26, 2004 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers collaborating with NCMIR’s Eric Bushong demonstrated reactive astrocytes lacking intermediate filaments in mice show a limited hypertrophy of cell processes and synaptic regeneration in the hippocampus. Read More >>
BioWall Displays Large Images of the Brain
NCMIR's newly installed "BioWall" tiled display, a 20-tile wall of high-resolution flat-panel displays that project massive, detailed 2D and 3D images of the brain, allows scientists to explore relationships among subcellular components, cells, and cellular networks at unprecedented resolution. Read More >>
Nitric Oxide and Zinc Demolish Overexcited Neurons
A recent collaboration between NCMIR and the Center for Neuroscience and Aging at the Burnham Institute demonstrated a unique form of cross-talk between nitric oxide and zinc apoptotic signal transduction pathways that may contribute to neurodegeneration. Read More >>
Purkinje Cell's Microenvironment May Be Regulated by Cerebellar Structure
A recent collaboration between NCMIR and the New York University Medical Center found that a cerebellar structure called the pinceau may regulate the microenviroment of the initial segment of the Purkinje cell axon.Read More >>
Astrocytes Change During Postnatal Brain Development
Unique astrocyte territories in the adult brain are likely formed through competition between astrocyte processes, similar to the competitive interactions among neuronal dendritic fields, according to a recently published study by NCMIR researchers Eric A. Bushong, Maryann E. Martone, and Mark Ellisman that examined the fine morphological features of developing astrocytes in the rat brain. Read More >>
NCMIR Scientist Places in Nikon's Small World Competition
NCMIR’s Tom Deerinck placed fourth in Nikon's 2003 Small World Competition with his image of a section of rat hippocampus stained with various cellular markers and imaged using 2-photon fluorescence microscopy. This is Deerinck's second win in this competition in as many years.
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EM Tomography Emerges as a Useful Tool for Studying the Nervous System
These images, featured on the July 2003 cover of Microscopy Today, demonstrate the emerging importance of electron tomography as a research tool, particularly for studying the nervous system. Read More >>
Relationship of Astrocytes to Laminar Boundaries in the Adult Brain Examined
The relationship of astrocytes to laminar boundaries in the adult brain was examined in a study published in the Journal of Comparitive Neurology. In this image, a protoplasmic astrocyte has been filled with a fluorescent dye (yellow) and the surrounding tissue is labeled for EphA4 (blue), revealing one of the laminar boundaries. Read More >>
NCMIR Scientist Wins First in Nikon Small World Competition
Tom Deerinck’s photomicrograph of a sagittal section of rat cerebellum placed first in the 28th Annual Nikon International Small World Competition. Fluorescence and confocal microscopy were used to achieve this image. Read More >>
Connexin Trafficking Imaged Through Multicolor and Electron Microscopy
An optical section of double-labeled (FlAsH green and ReAsH red) gap junctions in HeLa cells is pictured. The tubulin network is shown in white, and the cell nuclei is shown in blue. Read More >>
Synaptic Carbohydrate Antigen Plays Key Role in Neuromuscular Synapse Development
This laser scanning confocal image (BioRad Radiance confocal) is of a group of neuromuscular junctions from the mouse gastrocnemius muscle. The sample was triple labeled for acetylcholine receptors (red), synaptophysin (green), and neuron-specific enolase (blue). Read More >>
NCMIR Pioneers Use of Eosin for Fluorescence Photooxidation as a Staining Technique
A projection of a series of optical sections through a Purkinje neuron reveals both the overall morphology (red) and the dendritic spines (green). The unconjugated red dye fills the entire dendritic tree when injected, including shafts and spines. In contrast, the phalloidin-Alexa 488 conjugate selectively labels the spines. Read More >>
3D Image of Dendritic Spines Provides New Information on the Actin Cytoskeleton
Three-dimensional reconstruction of labeled spines using electron tomography showed that the labeled dense material was in continuity with the post-synaptic density. These results highlight differences in the actin cytoskeleton between different spine populations and provide novel information on the organization of the actin cytoskeleton in vivo. Read More >>