Cornelia I Bargmann

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Maryland, United States

Are you Cornelia I Bargmann?

Claim your profile

Publications (142)2358.41 Total impact

  • Navin Pokala, Qiang Liu, Andrew Gordus, Cornelia I Bargmann
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Recent progress in neuroscience has been facilitated by tools for neuronal activation and inactivation that are orthogonal to endogenous signaling systems. We describe here a chemical-genetic approach for inducible silencing of Caenorhabditis elegans neurons in intact animals, using the histamine-gated chloride channel HisCl1 from Drosophila and exogenous histamine. Administering histamine to freely moving C. elegans that express HisCl1 transgenes in neurons leads to rapid and potent inhibition of neural activity within minutes, as assessed by behavior, functional calcium imaging, and electrophysiology of neurons expressing HisCl1. C. elegans does not use histamine as an endogenous neurotransmitter, and exogenous histamine has little apparent effect on wild-type C. elegans behavior. HisCl1-histamine silencing of sensory neurons, interneurons, and motor neurons leads to behavioral effects matching their known functions. In addition, the HisCl1-histamine system can be used to titrate the level of neural activity, revealing quantitative relationships between neural activity and behavioral output. We use these methods to dissect escape circuits, define interneurons that regulate locomotion speed (AVA, AIB) and escape-related omega turns (AIB), and demonstrate graded control of reversal length by AVA interneurons and DA/VA motor neurons. The histamine-HisCl1 system is effective, robust, compatible with standard behavioral assays, and easily combined with optogenetic tools, properties that should make it a useful addition to C. elegans neurotechnology.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2014; 111(7):2770-5. · 9.74 Impact Factor
  • Saul Kato, Yifan Xu, Christine E Cho, L F Abbott, Cornelia I Bargmann
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Animals track fluctuating stimuli over multiple timescales during natural olfactory behaviors. Here, we define mechanisms underlying these computations in Caenorhabditis elegans. By characterizing neuronal calcium responses to rapidly fluctuating odor sequences, we show that sensory neurons reliably track stimulus fluctuations relevant to behavior. AWC olfactory neurons respond to multiple odors with subsecond precision required for chemotaxis, whereas ASH nociceptive neurons integrate noxious cues over several seconds to reach a threshold for avoidance behavior. Each neuron's response to fluctuating stimuli is largely linear and can be described by a biphasic temporal filter and dynamical model. A calcium channel mutation alters temporal filtering and avoidance behaviors initiated by ASH on similar timescales. A sensory G-alpha protein mutation affects temporal filtering in AWC and alters steering behavior in a way that supports an active sensing model for chemotaxis. Thus, temporal features of sensory neurons can be propagated across circuits to specify behavioral dynamics.
    Neuron 01/2014; · 15.77 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Elizabeth E Glater, Matthew V Rockman, Cornelia I Bargmann
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans can use olfaction to discriminate among different kinds of bacteria, its major food source. We here ask how natural genetic variation contributes to choice behavior, focusing on differences in olfactory preference behavior between two wild-type C. elegans strains. The laboratory strain N2 strongly prefers the odor of Serratia marcescens, a soil bacterium that is pathogenic to C. elegans, to the odor of Escherichia coli, a commonly used laboratory food source. The divergent Hawaiian strain CB4856 has a weaker attraction to Serratia than the N2 strain, and this behavioral difference has a complex genetic basis. At least three QTLs from HW with large effect sizes lead to reduced Serratia preference when introgressed into an N2 genetic background. These loci interact and have epistatic interactions with at least two antagonistic QTLs from HW that increase Serratia preference. The complex genetic architecture of this C. elegans trait is reminiscent of the architecture of mammalian metabolic and behavioral traits.
    G3-Genes Genomes Genetics 12/2013; · 1.79 Impact Factor
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Neuronal responses to sensory inputs can vary based on genotype, development, experience, or stochastic factors. Existing neuronal recording techniques examine a single animal at a time, limiting understanding of the variability and range of potential responses. To scale up neuronal recordings, we here describe a system for simultaneous wide-field imaging of neuronal calcium activity from at least 20 Caenorhabditis elegans animals under precise microfluidic chemical stimulation. This increased experimental throughput was used to perform a systematic characterization of chemosensory neuron responses to multiple odors, odor concentrations, and temporal patterns, as well as responses to pharmacological manipulation. The system allowed recordings from sensory neurons and interneurons in freely moving animals, whose neuronal responses could be correlated with behavior. Wide-field imaging provides a tool for comprehensive circuit analysis with elevated throughput in C. elegans.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2013; · 9.74 Impact Factor
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Foraging animals have distinct exploration and exploitation behaviors that are organized into discrete behavioral states. Here, we characterize a neuromodulatory circuit that generates long-lasting roaming and dwelling states in Caenorhabditis elegans. We find that two opposing neuromodulators, serotonin and the neuropeptide pigment dispersing factor (PDF), each initiate and extend one behavioral state. Serotonin promotes dwelling states through the MOD-1 serotonin-gated chloride channel. The spontaneous activity of serotonergic neurons correlates with dwelling behavior, and optogenetic modulation of the critical MOD-1-expressing targets induces prolonged dwelling states. PDF promotes roaming states through a Gαs-coupled PDF receptor; optogenetic activation of cAMP production in PDF receptor-expressing cells induces prolonged roaming states. The neurons that produce and respond to each neuromodulator form a distributed circuit orthogonal to the classical wiring diagram, with several essential neurons that express each molecule. The slow temporal dynamics of this neuromodulatory circuit supplement fast motor circuits to organize long-lasting behavioral states.
    Cell 08/2013; · 31.96 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Cornelia I Bargmann, Eve Marder
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In this Historical Perspective, we ask what information is needed beyond connectivity diagrams to understand the function of nervous systems. Informed by invertebrate circuits whose connectivities are known, we highlight the importance of neuronal dynamics and neuromodulation, and the existence of parallel circuits. The vertebrate retina has these features in common with invertebrate circuits, suggesting that they are general across animals. Comparisons across these systems suggest approaches to study the functional organization of large circuits based on existing knowledge of small circuits.
    Nature Methods 06/2013; 10(6):483-90. · 23.57 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We describe an intensity-based glutamate-sensing fluorescent reporter (iGluSnFR) with signal-to-noise ratio and kinetics appropriate for in vivo imaging. We engineered iGluSnFR in vitro to maximize its fluorescence change, and we validated its utility for visualizing glutamate release by neurons and astrocytes in increasingly intact neurological systems. In hippocampal culture, iGluSnFR detected single field stimulus-evoked glutamate release events. In pyramidal neurons in acute brain slices, glutamate uncaging at single spines showed that iGluSnFR responds robustly and specifically to glutamate in situ, and responses correlate with voltage changes. In mouse retina, iGluSnFR-expressing neurons showed intact light-evoked excitatory currents, and the sensor revealed tonic glutamate signaling in response to light stimuli. In worms, glutamate signals preceded and predicted postsynaptic calcium transients. In zebrafish, iGluSnFR revealed spatial organization of direction-selective synaptic activity in the optic tectum. Finally, in mouse forelimb motor cortex, iGluSnFR expression in layer V pyramidal neurons revealed task-dependent single-spine activity during running.
    Nature Methods 01/2013; · 23.57 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Genetically encoded calcium indicators (GECIs) are powerful tools for systems neuroscience. Here we describe red, single-wavelength GECIs, "RCaMPs," engineered from circular permutation of the thermostable red fluorescent protein mRuby. High-resolution crystal structures of mRuby, the red sensor RCaMP, and the recently published red GECI R-GECO1 give insight into the chromophore environments of the Ca-bound state of the sensors and the engineered protein domain interfaces of the different indicators. We characterized the biophysical properties and performance of RCaMP sensors and in , larvae, and larval zebrafish. Further, we demonstrate 2-color calcium imaging both within the same cell (registering mitochondrial and somatic [Ca]) and between two populations of cells: neurons and astrocytes. Finally, we perform integrated optogenetics experiments, wherein neural activation channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) or a red-shifted variant, and activity imaging RCaMP or GCaMP, are conducted simultaneously, with the ChR2/RCaMP pair providing independently addressable spectral channels. Using this paradigm, we measure calcium responses of naturalistic and ChR2-evoked muscle contractions in crawling . We systematically compare the RCaMP sensors to R-GECO1, in terms of action potential-evoked fluorescence increases in neurons, photobleaching, and photoswitching. R-GECO1 displays higher Ca affinity and larger dynamic range than RCaMP, but exhibits significant photoactivation with blue and green light, suggesting that integrated channelrhodopsin-based optogenetics using R-GECO1 may be subject to artifact. Finally, we create and test blue, cyan, and yellow variants engineered from GCaMP by rational design. This engineered set of chromatic variants facilitates new experiments in functional imaging and optogenetics.
    Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience 01/2013; 6:2.
  • Heeun Jang, Cornelia I Bargmann
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The pheromone drop test is a simple and robust behavioral assay to quantify acute avoidance of pheromones in C. elegans, and the suppression of avoidance by attractive pheromones. In the pheromone drop test, water-soluble C. elegans pheromones are individually applied to animals that are freely moving on a large plate. Upon encountering a repellent, each C. elegans animal may or may not try to escape by making a long reversal. The fraction of animals that make a long reversal response indicates the repulsiveness of a given pheromone to a specific genotype/strain of C. elegans. Performing the drop test in the presence of bacterial food enhances the avoidance response to pheromones. Attraction to pheromones can be assayed by the suppression of reversals to repulsive pheromones or by the suppression of the basal reversal rate to buffer.
    Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 01/2013; 1068:285-92.
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Conventional acquisition of three-dimensional (3D) microscopy data requires sequential z scanning and is often too slow to capture biological events. We report an aberration-corrected multifocus microscopy method capable of producing an instant focal stack of nine 2D images. Appended to an epifluorescence microscope, the multifocus system enables high-resolution 3D imaging in multiple colors with single-molecule sensitivity, at speeds limited by the camera readout time of a single image.
    Nature Methods 12/2012; · 23.57 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Aggregation is a social behavior that varies between and within species, providing a model to study the genetic basis of behavioral diversity. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, aggregation is regulated by environmental context and by two neuromodulatory pathways, one dependent on the neuropeptide receptor NPR-1 and one dependent on the TGF-β family protein DAF-7. To gain further insight into the genetic regulation of aggregation, we characterize natural variation underlying behavioral differences between two wild-type C. elegans strains, N2 and CB4856. Using quantitative genetic techniques, including a survey of chromosome substitution strains and QTL analysis of recombinant inbred lines, we identify three new QTLs affecting aggregation in addition to the two known N2 mutations in npr-1 and glb-5. Fine-mapping with near-isogenic lines localized one QTL, accounting for 5%-8% of the behavioral variance between N2 and CB4856, 3' to the transcript of the GABA neurotransmitter receptor gene exp-1. Quantitative complementation tests demonstrated that this QTL affects exp-1, identifying exp-1 and GABA signaling as new regulators of aggregation. exp-1 interacts genetically with the daf-7 TGF-β pathway, which integrates food availability and population density, and exp-1 mutations affect the level of daf-7 expression. Our results add to growing evidence that genetic variation affecting neurotransmitter receptor genes is a source of natural behavioral variation.
    PLoS Genetics 12/2012; 8(12):e1003157. · 8.52 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Many biological functions are conserved, but the extent to which conservation applies to integrative behaviors is unknown. Vasopressin and oxytocin neuropeptides are strongly implicated in mammalian reproductive and social behaviors, yet rodent loss-of-function mutants have relatively subtle behavioral defects. Here we identify an oxytocin/vasopressin-like signaling system in Caenorhabditis elegans, consisting of a peptide and two receptors that are expressed in sexually dimorphic patterns. Males lacking the peptide or its receptors perform poorly in reproductive behaviors, including mate search, mate recognition, and mating, but other sensorimotor behaviors are intact. Quantitative analysis indicates that mating motor patterns are fragmented and inefficient in mutants, suggesting that oxytocin/vasopressin peptides increase the coherence of mating behaviors. These results indicate that conserved molecules coordinate diverse behavioral motifs in reproductive behavior.
    Science 10/2012; 338(6106):540-3. · 31.20 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Genetically encoded calcium indicators (GECIs) are powerful tools for systems neuroscience. Recent efforts in protein engineering have significantly increased the performance of GECIs. The state-of-the art single-wavelength GECI, GCaMP3, has been deployed in a number of model organisms and can reliably detect three or more action potentials in short bursts in several systems in vivo. Through protein structure determination, targeted mutagenesis, high-throughput screening, and a battery of in vitro assays, we have increased the dynamic range of GCaMP3 by severalfold, creating a family of "GCaMP5" sensors. We tested GCaMP5s in several systems: cultured neurons and astrocytes, mouse retina, and in vivo in Caenorhabditis chemosensory neurons, Drosophila larval neuromuscular junction and adult antennal lobe, zebrafish retina and tectum, and mouse visual cortex. Signal-to-noise ratio was improved by at least 2- to 3-fold. In the visual cortex, two GCaMP5 variants detected twice as many visual stimulus-responsive cells as GCaMP3. By combining in vivo imaging with electrophysiology we show that GCaMP5 fluorescence provides a more reliable measure of neuronal activity than its predecessor GCaMP3. GCaMP5 allows more sensitive detection of neural activity in vivo and may find widespread applications for cellular imaging in general.
    Journal of Neuroscience 10/2012; 32(40):13819-13840. · 6.91 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Pheromone responses are highly context dependent. For example, the C. elegans pheromone ascaroside C9 (ascr#3) is repulsive to wild-type hermaphrodites, attractive to wild-type males, and usually neutral to "social" hermaphrodites with reduced activity of the npr-1 neuropeptide receptor gene. We show here that these distinct behavioral responses arise from overlapping push-pull circuits driven by two classes of pheromone-sensing neurons. The ADL sensory neurons detect C9 and, in wild-type hermaphrodites, drive C9 repulsion through their chemical synapses. In npr-1 mutant hermaphrodites, C9 repulsion is reduced by the recruitment of a gap junction circuit that antagonizes ADL chemical synapses. In males, ADL sensory responses are diminished; in addition, a second pheromone-sensing neuron, ASK, antagonizes C9 repulsion. The additive effects of these antagonistic circuit elements generate attractive, repulsive, or neutral pheromone responses. Neuronal modulation by circuit state and sex, and flexibility in synaptic output pathways, may permit small circuits to maximize their adaptive behavioral outputs.
    Neuron 08/2012; 75(4):585-92. · 15.77 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Dmitri B Chklovskii, Cornelia I Bargmann
    Science 07/2012; 337(6093):416-7. · 31.20 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Cornelia I Bargmann
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Powerful ultrastructural tools are providing new insights into neuronal circuits, revealing a wealth of anatomically-defined synaptic connections. These wiring diagrams are incomplete, however, because functional connectivity is actively shaped by neuromodulators that modify neuronal dynamics, excitability, and synaptic function. Studies of defined neural circuits in crustaceans, C. elegans, Drosophila, and the vertebrate retina have revealed the ability of modulators and sensory context to reconfigure information processing by changing the composition and activity of functional circuits. Each ultrastructural connectivity map encodes multiple circuits, some of which are active and some of which are latent at any given time.
    BioEssays 03/2012; 34(6):458-65. · 5.42 Impact Factor
  • Dmitri B. Chklovskii, Cornelia I. Bargmann
    Science 01/2012; 337(6093):416-417. · 31.03 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Laser killing of cell nuclei has long been a powerful means of examining the roles of individual cells in C. elegans. Advances in genetics, laser technology, and imaging have further expanded the capabilities and usefulness of laser surgery. Here, we review the implementation and application of currently used methods for target edoptical disruption in C. elegans.
    Methods in cell biology 01/2012; 107:177-206. · 1.44 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The polarized distribution of neuronal proteins to axons and dendrites relies on microtubule-binding proteins such as CRMP, directed motors such as the kinesin UNC-104 (Kif1A) and diffusion barriers such as ankyrin. The causative relationships among these molecules are unknown. We show here that Caenorhabditis elegans CRMP (UNC-33) acts early in neuronal development, together with ankyrin (UNC-44), to organize microtubule asymmetry and axon-dendrite sorting. In unc-33 and unc-44 mutants, axonal proteins were mislocalized to dendrites and vice versa, suggesting bidirectional failures of axon-dendrite identity. unc-44 directed UNC-33 localization to axons, where it was enriched in a region that resembled the axon initial segment. unc-33 and unc-44 were both required to establish the asymmetric dynamics of axonal and dendritic microtubules; in their absence, microtubules were disorganized, the axonal kinesin UNC-104 invaded dendrites, and inappropriate UNC-104 activity randomized axonal protein sorting. We suggest that UNC-44 and UNC-33 direct polarized sorting through their global effects on neuronal microtubule organization.
    Nature Neuroscience 11/2011; 15(1):48-56. · 15.25 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Andres Bendesky, Cornelia I Bargmann
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Recent work on behavioural variation within and between species has furthered our understanding of the genetic architecture of behavioural traits, the identities of relevant genes and the ways in which genetic variants affect neuronal circuits to modify behaviour. Here we review our understanding of the genetics of natural behavioural variation in non-human animals and highlight the implications of these findings for human genetics. We suggest that gene-environment interactions are central to natural genetic variation in behaviour and that genes affecting neuromodulatory pathways and sensory processing are preferred sites of naturally occurring mutations.
    Nature Reviews Genetics 11/2011; 12(12):809-20. · 41.06 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

12k Citations
2,358.41 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1991–2014
    • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
      Maryland, United States
  • 2006–2013
    • The Rockefeller University
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 1992–2007
    • University of California, San Francisco
      • • Division of Hospital Medicine
      • • Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
      • • Department of Anatomy
      San Francisco, CA, United States
  • 2001
    • University of Kansas
      • Department of Molecular Biosciences
      Lawrence, KS, United States
  • 1997
    • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
      Cold Spring Harbor, New York, United States
  • 1990
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
      • Department of Biology
      Cambridge, MA, United States