FY2022 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
  • Tomoko Yamanaka, Staff Scientist
  • Kumiko Saitou, Postdoctoral Scholar
  • Yu Takata, Postdoctoral Scholar
  • Suzuko Zaha, Postdoctoral Scholar
  • Ken Matsuura, Research Unit Technician
  • Esther Lai, Research Unit Technician
  • Tomoe Shimazaki, 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

2.3 Analysis of motor circuits

  • Description: determination of function of different motor circuits
  • Type of collaboration: Joint research
  • Researchers:
    • Research Assistant Professor Fumiyasu Imai, Weill Cornell Medicine

2.4 spinal cord injury

  • Description: spinal cord injury
  • Type of collaboration: Joint research
  • Researchers:
    • Associate Professor George Mentis, Columbia University

2.5 spinal cord injury

  • Description: spinal cord injury
  • Type of collaboration: Joint research
  • Researchers:
    • Professor John Martin, Columbia University

2.6 spinal cord injury

  • Description: ALS
  • Type of collaboration: Joint research
  • Researchers:
    • Associate Professor Neil Shneider, Columbia 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 corticospinal circuits control skilled motor behaviors. We have shown that plexinA1/A3-semaphorin5A/5B signaling controls axon fasciculation of corticospinal circuits (Gu et al., Journal of Neuroscience, 2023). 

4. Publications

4.1 Journals

  1. Martins LF, Brambilla I, Motta A, de Pretis S, Bhat GP, Badaloni A, Malpighi C, Amin ND, Imai F, Almeida RD, Yoshida Y, Pfaff SL, Bonanomi D. Motor neurons use push-pull signals to direct vascular remodeling critical for their connectivity. (2022). Neuron, 110(24):4090-4107.

  2. Matsuura K, Mohamed HM, Youssef MM, Yoshida Y, Yamamoto T. Synaptotagmin 2 is ectopically overexpressed in excitatory presynapses of a widely used CaMKΙΙα-Cre mouse line. (2022). iScience. 25(8):104692. 

4.2 Books and other one-time publications

Nothing to report

4.3 Oral and Poster Presentations

  1. T.Yamanaka, E.Tanaka, M.Takada, K.Inoue, Time-and area-specific dynamics of glial cells during postnatal development of the monkey cerebral cortex, Annual meeting of the Japan neuroscience society, Okinawa convention center, Japan, June (2022).
  2. Y. Yoshida, Formation, function and degeneration of motor circuits, Nervous System Assembly, OIST, Japan (2023).

5. Intellectual Property Rights and Other Specific Achievements

Nothing to report

6. Meetings and Events

6.1 Nervous System Assembly

  • Date: March 6 - 9, 2023
  • Venue: OIST Conference Center
  • Co-organizers: Alex Kolodkin (Johns Hopkins, USA), Artur Kania (IRCM, Canada), Kenny Campbell (Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, USA, Yoko Yazaki-Sugiyama (OIST)
  • Speakers:
    • Paola Arlotta (Harvard, USA) 
    • Kenny Campbell (Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, USA)
    • Alain Chédotal (INSERM, France)
    • Elizabeth Engle (Harvard, USA)
    • Brian Gebelein (Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, USA)
    • Yukiko Gotoh (University of Tokyo, Japan) 
    • Takeshi Imai (Kyusyu University, Japan)
    • Artur Kania (IRCM, Canada) 
    • Rüdiger Klein (Max Planck, Germany)
    • Alex Kolodkin (Johns Hopkins, USA)
    • Ichiro Masai (OIST)
    • Yosuke Mukoyama (NIH/NHLBI, USA)
    • Kinichi Nakashima (Kyusyu University, Japan) 
    • Kazunobu Sawamoto (Nagoya City University, Japan)
    • Song-Hai Shi (Tsinghua University, China)
    • Tomomi Shimogori (Riken, Japan)
    • Hisashi Umemori (Harvard, USA) 
    • Michisuke Yuzaki (Keio University, Japan)

7. Other

Nothing to report.