Jason Shepherd

Jason Shepherd
University of Utah | UOU · Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy

Ph.D

About

57
Publications
15,878
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
7,458
Citations
Introduction
My lab is interested in elucidating the fundamental cellular and molecular processes that underlie memory formation. In particular we are interested in the elucidation of the protein machinery at the synapse that governs long-term storage of information, and how basic cell biological processes have been elaborated in neurons for the purpose of modulating synaptic transmission. In addition, we are interested in how these processes go awry in neurological diseases.
Additional affiliations
July 2019 - present
University of Utah
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
Description
  • Tenured PI of a research lab
April 2015 - present
University of Utah
Position
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor
July 2013 - present
University of Utah
Position
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor
Education
January 2003 - March 2007
Johns Hopkins University
Field of study
  • Cellular and Molecular Medicine
January 1999 - December 2002
University of Otago
Field of study
  • Neuroscience

Publications

Publications (57)
Article
Full-text available
The neuronal gene Arc is essential for long-lasting information storage in the mammalian brain, mediates various forms of synaptic plasticity, and has been implicated in neurodevelopmental disorders. However, little is known about Arc's molecular function and evolutionary origins. Here, we show that Arc self-assembles into virus-like capsids that e...
Article
Full-text available
The development of neuronal circuits requires both hard-wired gene expression and experience-dependent plasticity. Sensory processing, such as binocular vision, is especially sensitive to perturbations of experience. We investigated the experience-dependent development of the binocular visual cortex at single-cell resolution by using two-photon cal...
Article
Full-text available
Neuronal activation induces rapid transcription of immediate early genes (IEGs) and longer-term chromatin remodeling around secondary response genes (SRGs). Here, we use high-resolution chromosome-conformation-capture carbon-copy sequencing (5C-seq) to elucidate the extent to which long-range chromatin loops are altered during short- and long-term...
Article
Viruses and transposable elements are major drivers of evolution and make up over half the sequences in the human genome. In some cases, these elements are co-opted to perform biological functions for the host. Recent studies made the surprising observation that the neuronal gene Arc forms virus-like protein capsids that can transfer RNA between ne...
Article
Full-text available
Arc, a neuronal gene that is critical for synaptic plasticity, originated through the domestication of retrotransposon Gag genes and mediates intercellular messenger RNA transfer. We report high-resolution structures of retrovirus-like capsids formed by Drosophila dArc1 and dArc2 that have surface spikes and putative internal RNA-binding domains. T...
Preprint
Foraging involves innate decision heuristics that are adapted for the wild but can cause economically irrational cognitive biases in some contexts. The mechanisms underlying cognitive biases are poorly understood but likely involve genetic mechanisms. Here, we investigate foraging in fasted mice using a naturalistic paradigm and uncover an innate "...
Article
Injury responses require communication between different cell types in the skin. Sensory neurons contribute to inflammation and can secrete signaling molecules that affect non-neuronal cells. Despite the pervasive role of translational regulation in nociception, the contribution of activity-dependent protein synthesis to inflammation is not well un...
Article
Memory consolidation is thought to occur through protein synthesis-dependent synaptic plasticity mechanisms such as long-term potentiation (LTP). Dynamic changes in gene expression and epigenetic modifications underlie the maintenance of LTP. Similar mechanisms may mediate the storage of memory. Key plasticity genes, such as the immediate early gen...
Article
Computational cannula microscopy (CCM) is a high-resolution widefield fluorescence imaging approach deep inside tissue, which is minimally invasive. Rather than using conventional lenses, a surgical cannula acts as a lightpipe for both excitation and fluorescence emission, where computational methods are used for image visualization. Here, we enhan...
Preprint
Full-text available
Injury responses require communication between different cell types in the skin. Sensory neurons contribute to inflammation and can secrete signaling molecules that affect non-neuronal cells. Despite the pervasive role of translational regulation in nociception, the contribution of activity-dependent protein synthesis to inflammation is not well un...
Preprint
Computational Cannula Microscopy (CCM) is a high-resolution widefield fluorescence imaging approach deep inside tissue, which is minimally invasive. Rather than using conventional lenses, a surgical cannula acts as a lightpipe for both excitation and fluorescence emission, where computational methods are used for image visualization. Here, we enhan...
Preprint
Computational Cannula Microscopy is a minimally invasive imaging technique that can enable high-resolution imaging deep inside tissue. Here, we apply artificial neural networks to enable fast, power-efficient image reconstructions that are more efficiently scalable to larger fields of view. Specifically, we demonstrate widefield fluorescence micros...
Preprint
Full-text available
The immediate early gene Arc is critical for maintenance of long-term memory. How Arc mediates this process remains unclear, but it has been proposed to sustain Hebbian synaptic potentiation, which is a key component of memory encoding. This form of plasticity is modelled experimentally by induction of long-term potentiation (LTP), which increases...
Article
Full-text available
Symbiotic microbes impact the function and development of the central nervous system (CNS); however, little is known about the contribution of the microbiota during viral-induced neurologic damage. We identify that commensals aid in host defense following infection with a neurotropic virus through enhancing microglia function. Germfree mice or anim...
Preprint
Full-text available
The neuronal protein Arc is a critical mediator of synaptic plasticity. Arc originated in tetrapods and flies through domestication of retrotransposon Gag genes. Recent studies have suggested that Arc mediates intercellular mRNA transfer, and, like Gag, can form capsid-like structures. Here we report that drosophila proteins dArc1 and dArc2 assembl...
Preprint
Full-text available
The normal development of neuronal circuits requires both hard-wired gene expression and experience. Sensory processing, such as vision, is especially sensitive to perturbations in experience. However, the exact contribution of experience to neuronal visual response properties and binocular vision remains unknown. To determine how visual response p...
Article
Full-text available
While the role of protein synthesis in synaptic plasticity and memory is well-established, protein degradation processes have been less studied. A seminal 2003 Nature Neuroscience paper showed that ubiquitin-dependent degradation of synaptic proteins is engaged during activity-regulated synaptic remodeling.
Article
Full-text available
Changes in excitatory neuron and synapse structure have been recognized as a potential physical source of age-related cognitive decline. Despite the importance of inhibition to brain plasticity, little is known regarding aging associated changes to inhibitory neurons. Here we test for age-related cellular and circuit changes to inhibitory neurons o...
Article
Full-text available
Neuronal activity regulates the transcription and translation of the immediate-early gene Arc/Arg3.1, a key mediator of synaptic plasticity. Proteasome-dependent degradation of Arc tightly limits its temporal expression, yet the significance of this regulation remains unknown. We disrupted the temporal control of Arc degradation by creating an Arc...
Conference Paper
Existing brain imaging sensors are either limited in their depth, resolution, and/or inflict trauma. To improve on these limitations, we demonstrate fluorescent microscopy through an optical cannula for deep tissue imaging.
Article
The neuronal gene Arc is essential for long-lasting information storage in the mammalian brain and has been implicated in various neurological disorders. However, little is known about Arc's evolutionary origins. Recent studies suggest that mammalian Arc originated from a vertebrate lineage of Ty3/gypsy retrotransposons, which are also ancestral to...
Article
Full-text available
The molecular basis for the decline in experience-dependent neural plasticity over age remains poorly understood. In visual cortex, the robust plasticity induced in juvenile mice by brief monocular deprivation (MD) during the critical period is abrogated by genetic deletion of Arc, an activity-dependent regulator of excitatory synaptic modification...
Article
Full-text available
Angelman syndrome (AS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that results from deletions or mutations in chromosome 15, which usually includes the UBE3A gene. Ube3A protein is an E3 ubiquitin ligase that ubiquitinates proteins and targets them for degradation. The immediate-early gene Arc, a master regulator of synaptic plasticity, was identified as a p...
Preprint
Full-text available
The molecular basis for the decline in experience-dependent neural plasticity over age remains poorly understood. In visual cortex, the robust plasticity induced in juvenile mice by brief monocular deprivation (MD) during the critical period is abrogated by genetic deletion of Arc, an activity-dependent regulator of excitatory synaptic modification...
Article
Full-text available
Here we demonstrate widefield (field diameter = 200 μm) fluorescence microscopy and video imaging inside the rodent brain at a depth of 2 mm using a simple surgical glass needle (cannula) of diameter 0.22 mm as the primary optical element. The cannula guides excitation light into the brain and the fluorescence signal out of the brain. Concomitant i...
Article
Full-text available
Arc (activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated protein) is a neuron-specific immediate early gene that is required for enduring forms of synaptic plasticity and memory in the mammalian brain. Arc expression is highly dynamic, and tightly regulated by neuronal activity and experience. Local translation of Arc protein at synapses is critical for syn...
Article
Full-text available
Unlabelled: New strategies for introducing genetically encoded activity indicators into animal models facilitate the investigation of nervous system function. We have developed the PC::G5-tdT mouse line that expresses the GCaMP5G calcium indicator in a Cre-dependent fashion. Instead of targeting the ROSA26 locus, we inserted the reporter cassette...
Article
Full-text available
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and Fragile X syndrome (FXS) are relatively common childhood neurodevelopmental disorders with increasing incidence in recent years. They are currently accepted as disorders of the synapse with alterations in different forms of synaptic communication and neuronal network connectivity. The major excitatory neurotransmi...
Article
Full-text available
Experience shapes and molds the brain throughout life.These changes in neuronal circuits are produced by a myriad of molecular and cellular processes. Simplistically, circuits are modified through changes in neurotransmitter release or through neurotransmitter detection at synapses. The predominant neurotransmitter receptor in excitatory transmissi...
Article
Full-text available
Assemblies of β-amyloid (Aβ) peptides are pathological mediators of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and are produced by the sequential cleavages of amyloid precursor protein (APP) by β-secretase (BACE1) and γ-secretase. The generation of Aβ is coupled to neuronal activity, but the molecular basis is unknown. Here, we report that the immediate early gene A...
Article
Full-text available
Many proteins have been implicated in synaptic and experience-dependent plasticity. However, few demonstrate the exquisite regulation of expression and breadth of functional importance as the immediate early gene product Arc. Here we review and attempt to synthesize the disparate views of Arc in neuronal function. The main conclusion garnered from...
Article
Full-text available
It has been suggested that gene expression and protein synthesis are required for both long-term memory consolidation and late phases of long-term potentiation and long-term depression (LTD). The necessary genes and the specific transcription factor binding sites in their promoters remain unknown. We found that inhibition of the transcription facto...
Article
Full-text available
A myriad of mechanisms have been suggested to account for the full richness of visual cortical plasticity. We found that visual cortex lacking Arc is impervious to the effects of deprivation or experience. Using intrinsic signal imaging and chronic visually evoked potential recordings, we found that Arc(-/-) mice did not exhibit depression of depri...
Article
Full-text available
Group I metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR) induce long-term depression (LTD) that requires protein synthesis. Here, we demonstrate that Arc/Arg3.1 is translationally induced within 5 min of mGluR activation, and this response is essential for mGluR-dependent LTD. The increase in Arc/Arg3.1 translation requires eEF2K, a Ca(2+)/calmodulin-depen...
Article
Full-text available
The cellular processes that govern neuronal function are highly complex, with many basic cell biological pathways uniquely adapted to perform the elaborate information processing achieved by the brain. This is particularly evident in the trafficking and regulation of membrane proteins to and from synapses, which can be a long distance away from the...
Article
Full-text available
Arc/Arg3.1 is an immediate-early gene whose mRNA is rapidly transcribed and targeted to dendrites of neurons as they engage in information processing and storage. Moreover, Arc/Arg3.1 is known to be required for durable forms of synaptic plasticity and learning. Despite these intriguing links to plasticity, Arc/Arg3.1's molecular function remains e...
Article
Full-text available
Homeostatic plasticity may compensate for Hebbian forms of synaptic plasticity, such as long-term potentiation (LTP) and depression (LTD), by scaling neuronal output without changing the relative strength of individual synapses. This delicate balance between neuronal output and distributed synaptic weight may be necessary for maintaining efficient...
Article
Full-text available
The neuropathological correlates of Alzheimer's disease (AD) include amyloid-β (Aβ) plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. To study the interaction between Aβ and tau and their effect on synaptic function, we derived a triple-transgenic model (3×Tg-AD) harboring PS1M146V, APPSwe, and tauP301L transgenes. Rather than crossing independent lines, we mic...

Projects

Project (1)
Project
We recently discovered that Arc forms viral-like protein capsids that can transfer RNA cell-to-cell through extracellular vesicles. We have a number of ongoing projects that address some of the following questions: 1. What RNAs/proteins does Arc carry? 2. Where do Arc vesicles go? Is there specificity of uptake? 3. What role does this intercellular signaling play in synaptic plasticity/information storage.