Anatomy and Brain Science

Research Summary

1. Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells: searching efficient procedures for their differentiation and induction (Masato Maruyama)
Since iPS cells are produced from the patient's own cells, such cells are expected as a new cellular material capable of avoiding rejection, a major problem in transplantation medicine. When administered to a patient, iPS cells undergo transformation (differentiation) into cells the patient requires. However, even if induced to differentiate the iPS cells, a subpopulation of unwanted cells happen to mix with major iPS cells, in rare cases resulting in unexpected cause of the side effects and tumor formation. We test genetic modification techniques obtaining various cell types in high purity and consider the best differentiation-induction mechanism of iPS cells.
2. Cells newborn in the damaged brain tissue trauma (Masahiko Kase)
In and around the damaged brain tissue, numerous normal cells are being eliminated and new cells are born. For these newborn cells, newly expressed genes are identified using laser microdissection, single-cell PCR method, in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. We examine the expressed genes and proteins highly efficient for therapeutic use in regenerative medicine.
3. Intriguing system of GABA neurons in the striatum (Trifonov Stefan, Yuji Yamashita)
More than 90% of striatal neurons are using GABA in neurotransmission. Lateral portion of the striatum is the site most important for the movement control. There we found GABAergic neurons enriched in GPR155, a membrane protein involved in hyperkinetic disorder and autism. Using genetic modification techniques we test the causal relationship of this protein in the pathology of GABA neurons.