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Exploring the scientific foundations of life through interdisciplinary approaches to address society’s problems.

Photo of Team leder, Kazunari Miyamichi

Team Leader
Kazunari Miyamichi Ph.D.

Laboratory for Comparative Connectomics

Location Kobe / Developmental Biology Buildings

E-mailkazunari.miyamichi[at]riken.jp

Please replace [at] with @.

We study organizations and functions of hypothalamic circuits underlying social behaviors

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.

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

Selected Publications

Mano T, Murata K, Kon K, et al.
CUBIC-Cloud provides an integrative computational framework toward community-driven whole-mouse-brain mapping.
Cell Reports Methods 1(2), 100038 (2021) doi: 10.1016/j.crmeth.2021.100038

Yoshihara C, Tokita K, Maruyama T, et al.
Calcitonin receptor signaling in the medial preoptic area enables risk-taking maternal care.
Cell Reports 35(9), 109204 (2021) doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109204

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

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