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Sci Rep January 1, 2020; 10 (1): 14437.

Diffusible GRAPHIC to visualize morphology of cells after specific cell-cell contact.

Kinoshita N , Huang AJY , McHugh TJ , Miyawaki A , Shimogori T .

The ability to identify specific cell-cell contact in the highly heterogeneous mammalian body is crucial to revealing precise control of the body plan and correct function. To visualize local connections, we previously developed a genetically encoded fluorescent indicator, GRAPHIC, which labels cell-cell contacts by restricting the reconstituted green fluorescent protein (GFP) signal to the contact site. Here, we modify GRAPHIC to give the reconstituted GFP motility within the membrane, to detect cells that make contact with other specific cells. Removal of leucine zipper domains, located between the split GFP fragment and glycophosphatidylinositol anchor domain, allowed GFP reconstituted at the contact site to diffuse throughout the entire plasma membrane, revealing cell morphology. Further, depending on the structural spacers employed, the reconstituted GFP could be selectively targeted to N terminal (NT)- or C terminal (CT)-probe-expressing cells. Using these novel constructs, we demonstrated that we can specifically label NT-probe-expressing cells that made contact with CT-probe-expressing cells in an epithelial cell culture and in Xenopus 8-cell-stage blastomeres. Moreover, we showed that diffusible GRAPHIC (dGRAPHIC) can be used in neuronal circuits to trace neurons that make contact to reveal a connection map. Finally, application in the developing brain demonstrated that the dGRAPHIC signal remained on neurons that had transient contacts during circuit development to reveal the contact history. Altogether, dGRAPHIC is a unique probe that can visualize cells that made specific cell-cell contact.

PubMed ID: 32879377
PMC ID: PMC7468259
Article link: Sci Rep
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: gpi h2bc21 nucb1

Article Images: [+] show captions
References [+] :
Callaway, Transneuronal circuit tracing with neurotropic viruses. 2009, Pubmed