Basic Medicine, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Neuroscience

Developmental Neuroscience

Where Do Brains Come From? What Are Brains? Where Are Brains Going? That’s Why We Challenge Research in Developmental Neuroscience

Medical Sciences Course

  • Master / Doctoral Degree


OSUMI, NorikoOSUMI, Noriko
OSUMI, Noriko

Professor, D.D.S. Ph.D.

*Concurrent Position

Research Theme

  • Molecular and cellular mechanisms of cortical development and neurogenesis in regard with brain evolution
  • Lipid signals in glial cell differentiation and functions in healthy and unhealthy conditions
  • Genetical and epigenetical mechanisms underlying pathophysiology of autism spectrum disorder and related neurodevelopmental disease
Research Keywords:

brain development, neurogenesis, glial cell differentiation, autism spectrum disorder, epigenetics

Technical Keywords:

animal experiment, genome editing, cell culture, epigenetics, bioinformatics

Laboratory Introduction

How our brain is formed? Our aim is to understand 1) the regulatory mechanisms of brain development, 2) lipid biology in the brain and nervous system, and 3) transgenerational epigenetics underlying offspring’s behavior (Figure 1).
We have identified multiple functions of a transcription factor Pax6 that regulates proliferation and differentiation of radial glia (i.e., neural stem/progenitor cells) via its specific downstream molecule including a fatty acid binding protein Fabp7 and a transcription factor Dmrta1, respectively. Recently, we have found that FMRP, an RNA-binding protein responsible for fragile X syndrome, may also be regulated under Pax6 and function to transport mRNA (e.g., of Cyclin D2) to the basal end of the radial glial processes.
We are also working on elucidation of lipid signals on neurogenesis and glial differentiation especially focusing on brain-rich fatty acids such as docosahexanoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) and their binding partner fatty acid binding protein (Fabp).
We are further challenging to understand genetic and epigenetic mechanisms for etiology of neurodevelopmental diseases such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A hint has come from the possibility that Pax6 and paternal aging may be involved in the pathophysiology of ASD. We are establishing mouse models for ASD to understand how paternal aging affects offspring’s behavior.

Figure 1. Three major projects in our lab

Figure 1. Three major projects in our lab

Figure 2. Working model for Cyclin D2 mRNA transport system in cortical neural stem cells and evidence obtained by genome editing

Figure 2. Working model for Cyclin D2 mRNA transport system in cortical neural stem cells and evidence obtained by genome editing

Recent Publications

  • Sugiyama, T., Osumi, N., Katsuyama, Y. A novel cell migratory zone in the developing hippocampal formation. J Comp Neurol. 522, 3520-3538, 2014.
  • Kikkawa, T., Obayashi, T., Takahashi, M., Fukuzaki-Dohi, U., Numayama-Tsuruta, K., Osumi, N.: Dmrta1 regulates proneural gene expression downstream of Pax6 in the mammalian telencephalon. Genes Cells. 18(8), 636-649. 2013.
  • Guo, N., Yoshizaki, K., Kimura, R., Suto, F., Yanagawa, Y., Osumi, N.: A sensitive period for GABAergic interneurons in the dentate gyrus in modulating sensorimotor gating. J Neurosci. 33(15), 6691-6704. 2013.
  • Tsunekawa, Y., Britto, J.M., Takahashi, M., Polleux, F., Tan, S-S. and Osumi, N.: Cyclin D2 in the basal process of neural progenitors is linked to non-equivalent cell fates. EMBO J. 31(8), 1879-1892, 2012.
  • Umeda, T., Takashima, N., Nakagawa, R., Maekawa, M., Ikegami, S., Yoshikawa, T., Kobayashi, K., Okanoya, K., Inokuchi, K. and Osumi, N.: Evaluation of Pax6 mutant rat as a model for autism. Plos One. 5(12), e15500, 2010.