Laboratory for Molecular and Developmental Biology


Professor Takahisa FURUKAWA
Assistant Professor Taro CHAYA
Technical Staff Toshinori TSUJII



Tel 81-6-6879-8631
Fax 81-6-6879-3633


Our laboratory studies molecular mechanisms underlying the development and function of the vertebrate central nervous system (CNS) using various research methods of molecular biology, mouse genetics, biochemistry, cell biology and neural physiology. We use the retina as a model system to understand how DNA encodes programs to generate various neurons and glial cells, form precise neuronal circuits, and enable complicated neuronal function. We also focus on how abnormality of biological processes in development and maturation leads to human diseases. We are eager to contribute to development of diagnosis and cure of human diseases. Together, our lab aims to elucidate mechanisms and principles underlying the CNS development from DNA programs to physiological function and human diseases.


Current Research Programs

  1. Molecular analysis of synapse formation in the CNS.
  2. Elucidation of functional roles of microRNAs (miRNAs) in CNS development.
  3. Analysis of molecular mechanisms underlying neuronal differentiation.
  4. Molecular mechanisms of primary cilia formation and function in the CNS


  1. ICK is essential for cell type-specific ciliogenesis and the regulation of ciliary transport. Chaya et al. (2014) EMBO J. 33, 1227-1242.
  2. Filamin-interacting proteins, Cfm1 and Cfm2, are essential for the formation of cartilaginous skeletal elements. Mizuhashi et al. (2014) Hum. Mol. Genet. 23, 2953-2967.
  3. G9a histone methyltransferase activity in retinal progenitors is essential for proper differentiation and survival of mouse retinal cells. Kato et al. (2012) J. of Neuroscience. 32, 17658-17670.
  4. Presynaptic Dystroglycan-Pikachurin Complex Regulates the Proper Synaptic Connection between Retinal Photoreceptor and Bipolar Cells. Omori et al. (2012) J. of Neuroscience. 2, 6126-6137.
  5. miR-124a is required for hippocampal axogenesis and retinal cone survival through Lhx2 suppression. Sanuki et al. (2011) Nature Neuroscience 14,1125-1134
  6. Pikachurin, a dystroglycan ligand, is essential for photoreceptor ribbon synapse formation. Sato et al. (2008) Nature Neuroscience 11, 923-31.