|Research Fields||Developmental neurobiology|
|Academic Society Membership||he Japan Neuroscience Society, The Molecular Biology Society of Japan, Japanese Society of Developmental Biologists, Society for Neuroscience|
How does the brain develop? The vertebrate brain is a highly complex structure. Many people, including researchers, have been interested in the brain development, possibly because they believe the complexity of the brain’s neural circuits generates emotion and behavior in animals and humans. As with other organs, the brain differentiates from just only one cell, a fertilized egg. Morphogenesis of the developing brain is fascinating to observe.
Our research goal is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of the morphogenesis of the brain and neurons. We use techniques of molecular biology, such as production of genetically engineered mice and in vivo electroporation. Recently, we developed a new technique, in vivo electroporation-based tetracycline system, which makes it possible to control gene expression in postmitotic neurons in mice (Fig.1). We would like to elucidate the mechanisms of the brain development by this new method. Also, we are interested in the development of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of the cerebral cortex. The PFC is thought to be responsible for thinking and creativity in humans. Uncovering the molecular mechanisms of the development and evolution of this area of the brain will lead to new treatments for mental disorders such as schizophrenia.
Fig.1 Doxycycline-dependent expression in cerebellar Purkinje cells Sagittal sections of the postnatal day (P) 9 cerebellum 5 days after the injection without doxycycline (A-C) and with doxycycline (D-F). In vivo electroporation was performed at embryonic day (E) 11. mCherry expression was induced only after doxycycline administration.