FY2021 Annual Report

Neural Circuit Unit
Professor Yutaka Yoshida


The Neural Circuit Unit is interested in understanding neural circuits to control motor behaviors including locomotion and skilled movements. The Unit primarily focuses on formation, function, and regeneration of motor circuits using a variety of techniques such as optogenetics, electrophysiology, molecular biology, and mouse genetics.

1. Staff

  • Yutaka Yoshida, Professor
  • Ayako Murayama, Staff Scientist
  • Kumiko Saitou, Postdoctoral Scholar
  • Yu Takata, Postdoctoral Scholar
  • Ken Matsuura, Research Unit Technician
  • Esther Lai, Research Unit Technician
  • Tomoe Owan, Research Unit Administrator

2. Collaborations

2.1 Evolutionarily distinct, species-specific motor circuits

  • Description: comparison of mRNAs in neurons within motor circuits between rodents and primates
  • Type of collaboration: Joint research
  • Researchers:
    • Professor Masahiko Takada, Center for the Evolutionary Origins of  Human Behavior, Kyoto University

2.2 To understand how muscles are activated during motor behaviors

  • Description: Measuring of muscle activity during motor behaviors
  • Type of collaboration: Joint research
  • Researchers:
    • Associate Professor Samuel Sober, Emory University

3. Activities and Findings

How species-specific neural circuits are formed during development remains largely unknow. We have performed single nucleus RNA-seq to compare mRNA between mice and primates. This project will reveal how corticospinal circuits are differentially formed between mice and primates. In addition, we have been studying how descending motor circuits control skilled motor behaviors.

4. Publications

4.1 Journals

Nothing to report

4.2 Books and other one-time publications

Nothing to report

4.3 Oral and Poster Presentations

  1. Y. Yoshida, Formation and function of corticospinal circuits underlying skilled movements, Emory University, US, December  (2021).

  2. Y. Yoshida, Monosynaptic connections between corticospinal neurons and motor neurons underlying manual dexterity in wild-type and ALS model mice, the International Symposium on Development and Plasticity of  Neural System, Kyoto University, Japan, March  (2022).


5. Intellectual Property Rights and Other Specific Achievements

Nothing to report

6. Meetings and Events

Nothing to report

7. Other

Nothing to report.