Labs

Sensory Circuit Formation

Team Leader
Takeshi Imai (Ph.D .)

The mammalian central nervous system is composed of enormous numbers of neurons. How do these neurons establish their identity and form functional neuronal circuitries? To address this question, we are studying the mouse olfactory system as a model system. In the mouse olfactory system, odorants are detected by ~1,000 types of olfactory sensory neurons, each expressing a single type of odorant receptor. The olfactory bulb, the primary olfactory area of the brain, receives inputs from olfactory sensory neurons through 1,000 sets of glomeruli. These inputs are then processed in the olfactory bulb circuits and are then sent out to the olfactory cortex. These complex neuronal circuits emerge in an autonomous fashion based on cell-cell interactions and neuronal activity after birth, rather than by strict genetic programs. Using the olfactory bulb as a model system, we are trying to understand simple rules behind the formation of complex neuronal circuitry.

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Lab Homepage

imai[at]cdb.riken.jp

Recruit

Axonal projection of olfactory sensory neurons to the olfactory bulb. Cyan, olfactory sensory neurons expressing I7-CFP; Yellow, olfactory sensory neurons expressing I7-dnPKA-YFP.
Mitral and tufted cells in the mouse olfactory bulb labeled with TMR-dextran. Each mitral/tufted cell extends a single primary dendrite to a single glomerulus, where it receives inputs from a single specific type of olfactory sensory neurons.
Adult Thy1-YFP-H mouse brain was cleared with an optical clearing agent SeeDB and imaged using two-photon microscopy. 3D rendering image of a volume of 4mm x 5mm x 2mm, encompassing cerebral cortex and hippocampus, is shown.
Tracing of sister mitral cells associated with a common glomerulus. Neurons connecting to a single glomerulus was labelled by neuronal tracer and the sample was cleared with SeeDB.
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