NOSE, Akinao / Professor / Division of Transdisciplinary Sciences
Department of Complexity Science and Engineering / / Formation and function of the neural network

Career Summary
1984: Graduated, Faculty of Science, Kyoto University
1989: Doctor of Science from Kyoto University
1989-93: Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Berkeley
1993: Research Associate, National Institute for Basic Biology, Okazaki National Research Institutes
1998: Associate Professor, The University of Tokyo
2007: Professor, The University of Tokyo
Educational Activities
Undergraduate: School of Science, Department of Physics: Biophysics
Research Activities
What are the basic physical mechanisms of brain formation? The goal of our laboratory is to elucidate the molecular mechanism of neural development and function using the simple nervous system of the fruit fly, Drosophila, as a model.
1) Identification of molecular cues that determines synaptic target specificity.
The proper functioning of the nervous system depends on precise interconnections of distinct types of neurons. Therefore, elucidating the mechanism of how neurons find and recognize their target cells is an important goal in neuroscience. We identified molecular cues that are expressed on specific target cells and that determine the synaptic specificity (see Literature 1, 2, 4, 6).
2) In vivo imaging of synapse formation
By using high-resolution live-imaging, we succeeded in observing the processes of synapse formation in real time in the intact organism. We investigated the dynamics of molecular assembly and signal transduction at the onset of synapse formation (see Literature 7).
3) Molecular mechanisms of synaptic maturation
Synapses change their properties even after their initial formation in response to changes in neural activity. At the neuromuscular junction in Drosophila, synapses grow in response to changes in the muscle volume and larval activity, to maintain and/or adjust synaptic transmission. We use this system as a model to study the mechanism of activity-dependent synaptic change (see Literature 3, 5).
1) Nose, A., Mahajan, V.B. & Goodman, C.S. Connectin: a homophilic cell adhesion molecule expressed on a subset of muscles and the motoneurons that innervate them in Drosophila. Cell 70, 553-567 (1992).
2) Shishido, E., Takeichi, M. & Nose, A. Drosophila synapse formation: regulation by transmembrane protein with Leu-rich repeats, Capricious. Science 280, 2118-2121 (1998).
3) Kazama, H., Morimoto-Tanifuji, T. & Nose, A. Postsynaptic activation of calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II promotes coordinated pre- and postsynaptic maturation of Drosophila neuromuscular junctions. Neuroscience 117, 615-625 (2003).
4) Shinza-Kameda, M., Takasu, E., Sakurai, K., Hayashi, S. & Nose, A. Regulation of layer-specific targeting by reciprocal expression of a cell adhesion molecule, Capricious. Neuron 49, 205-213 (2006).
5) Nakayama, H., Kazama, H., Nose, A. & Morimoto-Tanifuji, T. Activity-dependent regulation of synaptic size in Drosophila neuromuscular junctions. J. Neurobiol. 66, 929-939 (2006).
6) Inaki, M., Yoshikawa, S., Thomas, J.B., Aburatani, H. & Nose, A. Wnt4 is a local repulsive cue that determines synaptic target specificity. Curr. Biol. 1574-1579 (2007).
7) Kohsaka, H., Takasu, E. & Nose, A.  In Vivo Induction of Postsynaptic Molecular Assembly by the Cell Adhesion Molecule Fasciclin2. J. Cell Biol., in press.
Other Activities
Society for Neuroscience
The Japan Neuroscience Society
The Biophysical Society of Japan
The Molecular Biology Society of Japan
Japanese Society of Developmental Biologists
Future Plan
We aim to elucidate the mechanism of neural plasticity at the synaptic and the circuit level. For this purpose, we try to identify genes that are induced or suppressed in response to neural activity and that play key roles in synaptic plasticity. We also study how the neural circuits responsible for larval behavior mature as the circuit begins to function just before and immediately after hatching.
Messages to Students
I hope that you will enjoy the process of research, not just seek results. I also hope that you are able to balance hard work with time for enjoying life and space to think.