Since complete genome information of several animals has become available, we can use in in silico to find out highly conserved genes during evolution of vertebrate animals. As expected, we have identified a number of pivotal genes that seem to play essential roles during development of central nervous system. This raises a question how our brains are highly organized but develop based on the same genetic programs observed in Drosophila. To answer this essential question, we are trying to reveal molecular mechanisms that regulate brain development.
For example, Irx2 (vertebrate homologue of Drosophila Iroquois) acts along with FGF organizer signaling to specify the cerebellum development. Using this gene, we have successfully transformed midbrain to cerebellum. In addition to this project, we are analyzing several novel genes that regulate proliferation, differentiation and migration of neural stem cells.
With this approach, we are trying to uncover the mechanisms that control brains of vertebrate animals. In addition, we are trying to find out new techniques to manipulate neural stem cells for regenerative medicine. Using zebrafish, mice and even human, we explore the universal mechanisms that control brain, heart and limb development, as well as differentiation of ES cells.
Lab original HP：http://www2.idac.tohoku.ac.jp/dep/devn/english/index2.htm