Laboratory for Comparative Connectomics | RIKEN BDR

Laboratory for Comparative Connectomics

Team Leader

Kazunari MiyamichiPh.D.

  • Location:Kobe / Developmental Biology Buildings
  • E-mail:kazunari.miyamichi[at]riken.jpPlease replace [at] with @.
  • Lab Website

We study organizations and functions of hypothalamic circuits underlying social behaviors

Research Summary

The connection patterns of the billions of neurons in the mammalian brain underlie how neural circuits process information essential for perception, memory, and behavior. We have implemented viral-genetic tools that enable comprehensive mapping of input, output, and input-output relationships of specific neural types at the scale of the entire brain. Using these tools, we systematically map connection patterns of hypothalamic neurons underlying various social behaviors in mice. Specifically, we study anatomical differences in the neural circuit between male and female mice at the resolution of synaptic connection patterns, focusing on neurons that regulate sexual behaviors and reproduction. We also investigate the state-dependent circuit shift for parturition and lactation in female mice during pregnancy. These comparative connectomics approach will form a foundation upon which developmental and functional studies of neural circuits can be integrated in the future.
Currently, most genetic techniques in neuroscience are only applicable to mice, as Cre recombinase-dependent strategy is commonly used to regulate specific types of target neurons. To overcome this limitation, we combine CRISPR-mediated in situ gene knock-in and viral toolboxes to enable cell-type specific manipulations in non-model mammalian species without germline manipulation. We will then analyze organization and function of evolutionally orthologous neural circuits across mammalian species. This comparative connectomics will hopefully lead to an integrative platform for the study of evolution of neural circuits.

Mitral cells in the olfactory bulb that were labeled with mCherry by rabies virus-mediated retrograde trans-synaptic tracing from the olfactory cortex.

By using cTRIO, pre-synaptic inputs were visualized in green (GFP) to layer 5 pyramidal cells (Rbp4+) in the mouse motor cortex (M1) that project their own axons to the contralateral side of the motor cortex.

Using the TRAP method, a single barrel structure was visualized with tdTomato in the primary somatosensory cortex (S1) corresponding to a single C2 whisker.

Research Theme

  • Organization and developmental mechanisms of sex differences in the connectome
  • Functional shift of neural circuit during pregnancy in female mice
  • Cross-species comparison of structures and functions of the neural circuit

Main Publications List

  • Ishii K K, Osakada T, Mori H, et al.
    A labeled-line neural circuit for pheromone-mediated sexual behaviors in mice.
    Neuron 95. 123–137 (2017) doi : 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.05.038
  • Schwarz L A, Miyamichi K, Gao X J, et al.
    Viral-genetic tracing of the input-output organization of a central noradrenaline circuit.
    Nature 524. 88–92 (2015) doi:10.1038/nature14600
  • Weissbourd B, Ren J, DeLoach K E, et al.
    Presynaptic partners of dorsal raphe serotonergic and GABAergic neurons.
    Neuron 83. 645–662 (2014) doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2014.06.024
  • Miyamichi K, Shlomai-Fuchs Y, Shu M, et al.
    Dissecting local circuits: parvalbumin interneurons underlie broad feedback control of olfactory bulb output.
    Neuron 80. 1232–1245 (2013) doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2013.08.027
  • Guenthner C J, Miyamichi K, Yang H H, et al.
    Permanent genetic access to transiently active neurons via TRAP: targeted recombination in active populations.
    Neuron 78. 773–784 (2013) doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.03.025
  • Miyamichi K, Amat F, Moussavi F, et al.
    Cortical representations of olfactory input by trans-synaptic tracing.
    Nature 472. 191–196 (2011) doi:10.1038/nature09714

All Publications