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Department of Biological Sciences
Molecular Neuroscience
Developmental Biology
Cellular Genetics
Molecular Genetics
Plant Development and Physiology
Cellular Biochemistry
Evolutionary Genetics
Plant Environmental Responses
Environmental Microbiology
Animal Ecology
Plant Ecology
Systematic Zoology
Systematic Botany
Photosynthetic Microbial Consortia
Photo Neurobiology Laboratory
The Neurobiology laboratory conducts research into the cellular basis of behavior, with specific emphasis on neuronal and humoral control of viscera in coordination with somatic organs. We use many kinds of invertebrates, such as mollusks (Aplysia, Pleurobranchaea, Lymnaea etc.), crustaceans (Bathynomus, Panulirus etc.) and insects (Bombyx etc.) to study the comparative physiology.
Asc Prof Makoto Kurokawa e-mail
Asc Prof Adam Weitemier e-mail
Neuronal regulation of gill withdrawal reflex and its modification in Aplysia.
Neuronal network in regulation of the gill movements in Aplysia.
The neural circuits underlying siphon-elicited gill withdrawal reflex in Aplysia has been well characterized, and the study of plasticity in the reflex has contributed greatly to the knowledge of neuronal mechanisms of learning and memory. It has been assumed that central sensory-to-motor neuronal synapses are involved in alteration of the reflexes by changing the response of gill motor neurons in the abdominal ganglion after non-associative or associative training. Therefore, these synapses are the focus of many cellular and molecular studies of learning-related synaptic plasticity. In these studies, it has been generally accepted that a change in the activity of the gill motor neurons in the abdominal ganglion would be reflected in a change in gill movements. To the contrary, it has been demonstrated that there is not necessarily a correlation between the activity of gill motor neurons and the size of gill movements and so it was schematically expressed that an as-yet unidentified neuron plays an important role in the gill withdrawal and its modification regardless of the activity of gill motor neurons. Our aim is to understand the ways in which the central and peripheral neurons cooperate and coordinate their activities in regulating and modulating the model behavior at a single-cell level.
Central and peripheral neuronal control of digestive organs.
Bursatella leachii
The neural plexus is distributed throughout the digestive tract of Aplysia as well as mammals, in which a large number of neuronal somata are scattered. Using the Aplysia preparations, it is possible to apply the intracellular recording technique to identifiable neurons which are located not only in the central ganglia but also in the digestive organs. The goal of this study was to elucidate the role of the intrinsic peripheral neurons and interactions between the central and the peripheral nervous system in the neural control of the digestive organs at a single-neuron level.
upper: Aplysia kurodai, lower: Bathynomus doederleini
The peripheral neurons and their activities, which are distributed throughout the digestive tract in Aplysia. These neurons remain spontaneously active even after removal of CNS.
Nervous and humoral correlation in the behaviors in Lymnaea.
Successful copulation between the destral and the sinistral pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis.
Neural mechanisms of behavior, such as reproductive and feeding behaviors, and the correlation between these behaviors in Lymnaea stagnalis have been extensively examined using the central nervous system (CNS) as a model for the study of the neuronal and humoral basis for behavior. In addition to CNS, the neural plexus, containing many neuronal somata, is located in the periphery between the digestive and the reproductive organs. One of our objectives in this study is to reveal the function of the peripheral neuronal network in the correlative regulation of these two organs during reproductive and feeding behaviors.
Feeding behavior and respiratory behavior in Lymnaea stagnalis.
Weitemier - Monoamine systems and behavior in mammals
Brainstem monoamine neuromodulatory systems (dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin) are tightly tied to a wide range of behaviors and physiological processes. Using primarily mice, my research uses behavioral, pharmacological, and neurochemical recording techniques to investigate the biological and behavioral roles of brain neuromodulatory systems. For example, we study how various drugs that either block or mimic neuromodulatory systems can alter behavior, contribute to brain disease, or improve the outcomes of disease. We also apply neurochemical recording in anesthetized or behaving mice to analyze the function of neuromodulatory systems in healthy and disease states, such as Alzheimer’s disease model mice.
Recent Publications
  1. K. Tanaka, S. Ito and M. Kurokawa. Central pathways of the hindgut movement in the penaeid shrimp, Marsupenaeus japonicus. Kyorin J. Arts and Sciences, 33:1-7(2016)
  2. S. Chiken, A. Sato, C. Ohta, M. Kurokawa, S. Arai, J. Maeshima, T. Sunayama-Morita, T. Sasaoka, A. Nambu  Dopamine D1 receptor-mediated transmission maintains information flow through the cortico-striato-entopeduncular edirect pathway to release movements. Cereb. Cortex 25:4885-4897 (2015)
  3. K. Tanaka, K. Takagi, S. Ito and M. Kurokawa. Neural control of the rectum in a penaeid shrimp, Marsupenaeus japonicus. Kyorin J. Arts and Sciences, 31:1-8 (2014).
  4. M. Kurokawa, Y. Kasuya, and T. Okamoto. Origin of automaticity and neural regulation of peristalsis in the gastrointestinal tract of Aplysia and Lymnaea. Acta Biologica Hungarica 63:328-331(2012).
  5. N.L. Kamiji, K.Yamamoto, H. Hirasawa, M.Yamada, S. Usui and M.Kurokawa.Proton feedback mediates the cascade of color-opponent signals onto H3 horizontal cells in goldfish retina. Neurosci. Res., doi.10.1016/j.neures.2012.01.008(2012).
  6. N.L. Kamiji, M.Yamada, K.Yamamoto, H. Hirasawa, M.Kurokawa, and S. Usui. Analysis of the Proton Mediated Feedback Signals in the Outer Plexiform Layer of Goldfish Retina.Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 7064:684-691(2011).
  7. K. Tanaka, K.Kuwasawa, and M. Kurokawa. Neural pathways to cardioaccelerator neurons in the isopod crustacean Bathynomus doederleini: cholinergic activation by somatic movements. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, A159: 66-74(2011).
  8. T. Okamoto, and M. Kurokawa, The role of the peripheral enteric nervous system in the control of the gut motility in the snail Lymnaea stagnalis. Zoological Science 27:602-610 (2010).
  9. S. Chiken, k. Kuwasawa and M. Kurokawa. A neural analysis of avoidance conditioning with the feeding attractant glycine in Plerobranchaea japonica. Comparative physiology and Biochemistry A 154:333-340 (2009).
  10. T. Nakano, I. Yazaki, M. Kurokawa, K. Yamaguchi and K. Kuwasawa. The origin of the endemic patellogastropod limpets from the Ogasawara Islands in the northwestern Pacific. Journal of Molluscan Studies 75:87-90 (2009).
  11. M. Kurokawa, S. Ito, and T. Okamoto Activities and functions of peripheral neurons in the enteric nervous system of Aplysia and Lymnaea. Acta Biologica Hungarica 59:65-71 (2008).
  12. S. Ito and M. Kurokawa. Coordinated Peripheral Neuronal Activities among the Different Regions of the Digestive Tract in Aplysia. Zoological Science 24(7):714-722 (2007).
  13. Uchimura, K., Ai, H., Kuwasawa, K., Matsushita, T. and Kurokawa, M. (2006) Excitatory neural control of posterograde heartbeat by the frontal ganglion in the last instar larva of a lepidopteran, Bombyx mori. J.Comp.Physiol. A, 192:175-185.
  14. Hasegawa, H., Ishiwata, T., Saito, T., Yazawa, T., Aihara, Y. and Meeusen., R. (2005) Inhibition of the preoptic area and anterior hypothalamus by tetrodotoxin alters thermoregulatory functions in exercising rats. J. Appl. Physiol.  (in press)
  15. Wilkens, J. L., Shinozaki, T., Yazawa, T. and ter Keurs, H. E. D. J. (2005) Sites and modes of action of proctolin and the FLP F2 on lobster cardiac muscle. J. Exp. Biol. 208: 737-747.
  16. Kurokawa, M. and Kuwasawa, K. (2004) Inhibition of the serotonergic neuron Anti-L7 is involved in sensitization of the gill withdrawal reflex in Aplysia. Bull. Malacol.Soc.Lond., 43:9
  17. Ito, S. and Kurokawa, M. (2004) Gizzerd movements in Aplysia are composed of both neurogenic contractions attributable to the peripheral neurons and myogenic contractions. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 139B: 774
  18. Yazawa, T., Katsuyama, T., Tanaka, K. and Kiyono, K. (2004) Neurodynamical control systems of the heart of Japanese spiny lobster, Panulirus japonicus. Russia Izvestiya VUZ. Applied Nonlinear Dynamics (accepted)
  19. Shinozaki, T., Wilkens, J.L., Yazawa, T. and. ter Keurs, H.E.D.J (2004) The steady state F-Ca2+ relationship in intact lobster (Homarus americanus) cardiac muscle. J.Comp.Physiol.B 174 407-404.
  20. F.-Tsukamoto, Y. and Kuwasawa, K. (2003) Neurohormonal and glutamatergic neuronal control of the cardioarterial valves of the isopod crustacean, Bathynomus doederleini. J. exp. Biol., 206:431-443.
  21. Matsushita, T., Kuwasawa, K., Uchimura, K., Ai, H. and Kurokawa, M. (2002) Biogenic amines evoke heartbeat reversal in the sweet potato hornworm, Agrius convolvuli. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. A., 133:625-636.
  22. Ishiwata, T., Hasegawa, H., Yazawa, T., Otokawa, M., Aihara, Y. (2002) Functional role of the preoptic area and anterior hypothalamus in thermoregulation in freely moving rats. Neurosci. Lett., 325:167-170.
  23. Chiken, S., Kuwasawa, K., Kurokawa, M and Ohsuga. K. (2001) Amino acid-induced reflexes and their neural pathways in a opisthobranch molluisc Pleurobranchaea japonica. Zool. Sci., 18:465-473.
  24. Ohsuga, K., Kurokawa, M. and Kuwasawa, K. (2000) Mosaic arrangement of SCPb-, FMRMamide-, and histamine-like immunoreactive sensory hair cells in the statocyst of the gastropod mollusc Pleurobrancaea japonica. Cell Tissue Res 300:165-172.
©2015 Department of Biological Sciences, Tokyo Metropolitan University