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A comparison of fluorescent Ca(2+) indicators for imaging local Ca(2+) signals in cultured cells. - Cell calcium
Localized subcellular changes in Ca(2+) serve as important cellular signaling elements, regulating processes as diverse as neuronal excitability and gene expression. Studies of cellular Ca(2+) signaling have been greatly facilitated by the availability of fluorescent Ca(2+) indicators. The respective merits of different indicators to monitor bulk changes in cellular Ca(2+) levels have been widely evaluated, but a comprehensive comparison for their use in detecting and analyzing local, subcellular Ca(2+) signals is lacking. Here, we evaluated several fluorescent Ca(2+) indicators in the context of local Ca(2+) signals (puffs) evoked by inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3) in cultured human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells, using high-speed video-microscopy. Altogether, nine synthetic Ca(2+) dyes (Fluo-4, Fluo-8, Fluo-8 high affinity, Fluo-8 low affinity, Oregon Green BAPTA-1, Cal-520, Rhod-4, Asante Calcium Red, and X-Rhod-1) and three genetically-encoded Ca(2+)-indicators (GCaMP6-slow, -medium and -fast variants) were tested; criteria include the magnitude, kinetics, signal-to-noise ratio and detection efficiency of local Ca(2+) puffs. Among these, we conclude that Cal-520 is the optimal indicator for detecting and faithfully tracking local events; that Rhod-4 is the red-emitting indicator of choice; and that none of the GCaMP6 variants are well suited for imaging subcellular Ca(2+) signals.Copyright Â© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Analyzing and Modeling the Kinetics of Amyloid Beta Pores Associated with Alzheimer's Disease Pathology. - PloS one
Amyloid beta (AÎ²) oligomers associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) form Ca2+-permeable plasma membrane pores, leading to a disruption of the otherwise well-controlled intracellular calcium (Ca2+) homeostasis. The resultant up-regulation of intracellular Ca2+ concentration has detrimental implications for memory formation and cell survival. The gating kinetics and Ca2+ permeability of AÎ² pores are not well understood. We have used computational modeling in conjunction with the ability of optical patch-clamping for massively parallel imaging of Ca2+ flux through thousands of pores in the cell membrane of Xenopus oocytes to elucidate the kinetic properties of AÎ² pores. The fluorescence time-series data from individual pores were idealized and used to develop data-driven Markov chain models for the kinetics of the AÎ² pore at different stages of its evolution. Our study provides the first demonstration of developing Markov chain models for ion channel gating that are driven by optical-patch clamp data with the advantage of experiments being performed under close to physiological conditions. Towards the end, we demonstrate the up-regulation of gating of various Ca2+ release channels due to AÎ² pores and show that the extent and spatial range of such up-regulation increases as AÎ² pores with low open probability and Ca2+ permeability transition into those with high open probability and Ca2+ permeability.
Picomolar sensitivity to inositol trisphosphate in Xenopus oocytes. - Cell calcium
Ca(2+) liberation from the endoplasmic reticulum mediated by inositol trisphosphate receptor/channels (IP3Rs) in response to production of the second messenger IP3 regulates numerous signaling pathways. However, estimates of resting and physiologically relevant cytosolic concentrations of IP3 vary appreciably. Here we directly address this question, taking advantage of the large size of Xenopus oocytes to image Ca(2+) liberation evoked by bolus intracellular injections of known concentrations of IP3. Our principal finding is that IP3 evokes both global and local Ca(2+) signals in freshly isolated oocytes at concentrations as low as a few pM. A corollary is that basal, resting [IP3] must be even lower, given the absence of detectable Ca(2+) signals before injection. The dose/response curve for IP3-activation of Ca(2+) liberation suggests that freshly isolated oocytes express two distinct functional populations of IP3 receptors with EC50 values around 200 pM and tens of nM, whereas the high-affinity receptors are not apparent in oocytes examined later than about 3 days after isolation from the ovary.Copyright Â© 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.
Spinning-Spot Shadowless TIRF Microscopy. - PloS one
Total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy is a powerful tool for visualizing near-membrane cellular structures and processes, including imaging of local Ca2+ transients with single-channel resolution. TIRF is most commonly implemented in epi-fluorescence mode, whereby laser excitation light is introduced at a spot near the periphery of the back focal plane of a high numerical aperture objective lens. However, this approach results in an irregular illumination field, owing to interference fringes and scattering and shadowing by cellular structures. We describe a simple system to circumvent these limitations, utilizing a pair of galvanometer-driven mirrors to rapidly spin the laser spot in a circle at the back focal plane of the objective lens, so that irregularities average out during each camera exposure to produce an effectively uniform field. Computer control of the mirrors enables precise scanning at 200 Hz (5ms camera exposure times) or faster, and the scan radius can be altered on a frame-by-frame basis to achieve near-simultaneous imaging in TIRF, widefield and 'skimming plane' imaging modes. We demonstrate the utility of the system for dynamic recording of local inositol trisphosphate-mediated Ca2+ signals and for imaging the redistribution of STIM and Orai proteins during store-operated Ca2+ entry. We further anticipate that it will be readily applicable for numerous other near-membrane studies, especially those involving fast dynamic processes.
Imaging local Ca2+ signals in cultured mammalian cells. - Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Cytosolic Ca2+ ions regulate numerous aspects of cellular activity in almost all cell types, controlling processes as wide-ranging as gene transcription, electrical excitability and cell proliferation. The diversity and specificity of Ca2+ signaling derives from mechanisms by which Ca2+ signals are generated to act over different time and spatial scales, ranging from cell-wide oscillations and waves occurring over the periods of minutes to local transient Ca2+ microdomains (Ca2+ puffs) lasting milliseconds. Recent advances in electron multiplied CCD (EMCCD) cameras now allow for imaging of local Ca2+ signals with a 128 x 128 pixel spatial resolution at rates of >500 frames sec(-1) (fps). This approach is highly parallel and enables the simultaneous monitoring of hundreds of channels or puff sites in a single experiment. However, the vast amounts of data generated (ca. 1 Gb per min) render visual identification and analysis of local Ca2+ events impracticable. Here we describe and demonstrate the procedures for the acquisition, detection, and analysis of local IP3-mediated Ca2+ signals in intact mammalian cells loaded with Ca2+ indicators using both wide-field epi-fluorescence (WF) and total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy. Furthermore, we describe an algorithm developed within the open-source software environment Python that automates the identification and analysis of these local Ca2+ signals. The algorithm localizes sites of Ca2+ release with sub-pixel resolution; allows user review of data; and outputs time sequences of fluorescence ratio signals together with amplitude and kinetic data in an Excel-compatible table.
Two-photon imaging of cellular dynamics in the mouse spinal cord. - Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Two-photon (2P) microscopy is utilized to reveal cellular dynamics and interactions deep within living, intact tissues. Here, we present a method for live-cell imaging in the murine spinal cord. This technique is uniquely suited to analyze neural precursor cell (NPC) dynamics following transplantation into spinal cords undergoing neuroinflammatory demyelinating disorders. NPCs migrate to sites of axonal damage, proliferate, differentiate into oligodendrocytes, and participate in direct remyelination. NPCs are thereby a promising therapeutic treatment to ameliorate chronic demyelinating diseases. Because transplanted NPCs migrate to the damaged areas on the ventral side of the spinal cord, traditional intravital 2P imaging is impossible, and only information on static interactions was previously available using histochemical staining approaches. Although this method was generated to image transplanted NPCs in the ventral spinal cord, it can be applied to numerous studies of transplanted and endogenous cells throughout the entire spinal cord. In this article, we demonstrate the preparation and imaging of a spinal cord with enhanced yellow fluorescent protein-expressing axons and enhanced green fluorescent protein-expressing transplanted NPCs.
Imaging regulatory T cell dynamics and CTLA4-mediated suppression of T cell priming. - Nature communications
Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs) maintain immune homoeostasis through mechanisms that remain incompletely defined. Here by two-photon (2P) imaging, we examine the cellular dynamics of endogenous Tregs. Tregs are identified as two non-overlapping populations in the T-zone and follicular regions of the lymph node (LN). In the T-zone, Tregs migrate more rapidly than conventional T cells (Tconv), extend longer processes and interact with resident dendritic cells (DC) and Tconv. Tregs intercept immigrant DCs and interact with antigen-induced DC:Tconv clusters, while continuing to form contacts with activated Tconv. During antigen-specific responses, blocking CTLA4-B7 interactions reduces Treg-Tconv interaction times, increases the volume of DC:Tconv clusters and enhances subsequent Tconv proliferation in vivo. Our results demonstrate a role for altered cellular choreography of Tregs through CTLA4-based interactions to limit T-cell priming.
Molecular biophysics of Orai store-operated Ca2+ channels. - Biophysical journal
Upon endoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+) store depletion, Orai channels in the plasma membrane are activated directly by endoplasmic reticulum-resident STIM proteins to generate the Ca(2+)-selective, Ca(2+) release-activated Ca(2+) (CRAC) current. After the molecular identification of Orai, a plethora of functional and biochemical studies sought to compare Orai homologs, determine their stoichiometry, identify structural domains responsible for the biophysical fingerprint of the CRAC current, identify the physiological functions, and investigate Orai homologs as potential therapeutic targets. Subsequently, the solved crystal structure of Drosophila Orai (dOrai) substantiated many findings from structure-function studies, but also revealed an unexpected hexameric structure. In this review, we explore Orai channels as elucidated by functional and biochemical studies, analyze the dOrai crystal structure and its implications for Orai channel function, and present newly available information from molecular dynamics simulations that shed light on Orai channel gating and permeation.Copyright Â© 2015 Biophysical Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Modulation of elementary calcium release mediates a transition from puffs to waves in an IP3R cluster model. - PLoS computational biology
The oscillating concentration of intracellular calcium is one of the most important examples for collective dynamics in cell biology. Localized releases of calcium through clusters of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor channels constitute elementary signals called calcium puffs. Coupling by diffusing calcium leads to global releases and waves, but the exact mechanism of inter-cluster coupling and triggering of waves is unknown. To elucidate the relation of puffs and waves, we here model a cluster of IP3R channels using a gating scheme with variable non-equilibrium IP3 binding. Hybrid stochastic and deterministic simulations show that puffs are not stereotyped events of constant duration but are sensitive to stimulation strength and residual calcium. For increasing IP3 concentration, the release events become modulated at a timescale of minutes, with repetitive wave-like releases interspersed with several puffs. This modulation is consistent with experimental observations we present, including refractoriness and increase of puff frequency during the inter-wave interval. Our results suggest that waves are established by a random but time-modulated appearance of sustained release events, which have a high potential to trigger and synchronize activity throughout the cell.
Fluorescence microscopy. - Cold Spring Harbor protocols
Fluorescence microscopy is a major tool with which to monitor cell physiology. Although the concepts of fluorescence and its optical separation using filters remain similar, microscope design varies with the aim of increasing image contrast and spatial resolution. The basics of wide-field microscopy are outlined to emphasize the selection, advantages, and correct use of laser scanning confocal microscopy, two-photon microscopy, scanning disk confocal microscopy, total internal reflection, and super-resolution microscopy. In addition, the principles of how these microscopes form images are reviewed to appreciate their capabilities, limitations, and constraints for operation.Â© 2014 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
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