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RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research Laboratory for Cell Asymmetry

Team Leader: Fumio Matsuzaki (Ph.D.)

Research Summary

Fumio  Matsuzaki(Ph.D.)

Our group explores the mechanisms underlying the organization of cells into highly ordered structures in the developing brain. During brain development, neural stem cells generate a large number of neurons and glia of different fates at appropriate points in time; the framework and size of the brain depend on the spatiotemporal behavior of neural stem cells, which are highly dynamic in their modes of division and gene expression. Using invertebrate (Drosophila) and vertebrate (mouse) model systems, we focus our study on genetic and epigenetic programs, by which behaviors of neural stem cells are controled and brain development is governed,

Drosophila neural stem cells, called neuroblasts, provide an excellent model system for the investigation of fundamental aspects of asymmetric division, a process essential to the generation of cells of divergent type during proliferation. We have been investigating mechanisms controlling asymmetric divisions, including the cell polarity and spindle orientation. We also extend our research scope to understand how neurogenesis is controlled in tissue space depending on the environments that surround the nervous system. We recently identified an extrinsic mechanism that controls the orientation of division (cell polarity) in neuroblasts relative to the overriding ectoderm (Yoshiura et al., 2012), which determines the orientation of neural tissue growth.

The vertebrate brain evolved rapidly, resulting in an expansion of the size of the brain, which comprises a larger number of neurons arranged in a vastly more complex functional network than that in invertebrate. Neural stem cells typically adopt three states - proliferative (symmetrically dividing), neurogenic (asymmetrically dividing), and resting - and undergo transitions among the states, on which the basic organization of the brain depend. We are investigating mechanisms that determine the individual states of neural stem cells, and control transitions between states in mouse as well as mechanisms for generating neural progenitor cell diversity (see figure). We recently discovered a novel transition in the division mode in the developing mouse cortex from radial glia (typical neural stem cells with the epithelial structure) to translocating neural stem cells, basal radial glia (Shitamukai et al., 2011), which become a major population of neural stem cells in mammals with gyrencephalic brains, such as primates and ferrets. We are investigating the mechanisms that underlie the formation, maintenance, and expansion of these neural stem cells, by using model mice that produce large numbers of basal radial glia as well as ferrets.

Main Research Fields

  • Biology & Biochemistry

Related Research Fields

  • Neuroscience & Behavior

Research Subjects

  • Genetic programs of neural development
  • Asymmetric division of neural stem cells

Selected Publications

  • 1.Okamoto et al.:
    "Cell cycle–independent transitions in temporal identity of mammalian neural progenitor cells."
    Nat Commun. In press.
  • 2.Matsuzaki F, and Shitamukai A.:
    "Cell division modes and cleavage planes of neural progenitors during mammalian cortical development."
    Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 7.a015719 (2015)
  • 3.Klotz L, et al.:
    "Cardiac lymphatics are heterogeneous in origin and respond to injury."
    Nature. 522. 62-67 (2015)
  • 4.Kasahara K, et al.:
    "Ubiquitin-proteasome system controls ciliogenesis at the initial step of axoneme extension."
    Nat Commun 5.5081 (2014)
  • 5.Mora-Bermúdez F, et al.:
    "Specific polar subpopulations of astral microtubules control spindle orientation and symmetric neural stem cell division."
    Elife. doi: 10.7554/eLife.02875 (2014)
  • 6.Pilz GA, et al.:
    "Amplification of progenitors in the mammalian telencephalon includes a new radial glial cell type."
    Nat Commun 4.2125 (2013)

Recent Research Results

Related Links

Lab Members

Principal investigator

Fumio Matsuzaki
Team Leader

Core members

Keiko Muguruma
Research Specialist
Atsunori Sitamukai
Research Specialist
Yuji Tsunekawa
Research Scientist
Quan Wu
Research Scientist
Ikumi Fujita
Special Postdoctoral Researcher
Shun Mase
Junior Research Associate
Taeko Suetsugu
Technical Staff I
Ayaka Nishiyama
Technical Staff I
Chiaki Kishida
Technical Staff I
Ryo Yoshida
Technical Staff II

Contact Information

2-2-3 Minatojima-minamimachi, Chuo-ku
Kobe, Hyogo
650-0047 Japan
Email: fumio [at] cdb.riken.jp