6th CiNet Monthly Seminar : Ko Matsui, “Functional engineering of astrocytes and mind”

CiNet Monthly Seminar

April 14, 2017
16:00 ~ 17:00
CiNet 1F Conference Room

“Functional engineering of astrocytes and mind”

Ko Matsui
Graduate School of Life Sciences, Tohoku University, JAPAN

Host : Tamami Nakano (Kitazawa Group)

As the membrane potential of astrocytes fluctuates only slightly, it has been considered that astrocytes cannot serve as a medium of much information. However, using recently developed fluorescent probes, dynamic changes in the astrocytic ionic environment have been demonstrated. To reveal the role of astrocytes in brain function, the existence of astrocyte-to-neuron signaling pathway triggered by such astrocytic ionic changes needs to be shown. This study requires an on-demand control of astrocyte activity and, thus, we have created transgenic mice with astrocyte specific expression of light-sensitive membrane protein, channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) or archaerhodopsin (ArchT). We noticed that activation of these tools results in acidification and alkalization of the cytosol, respectively, as the main cation that they convey across the plasma membrane is proton. By artificially lowering the intracellular pH buffering capacity, we show that astrocytic ChR2 photoactivation results in more intracellular acidification of astrocytes and enhanced release of glutamate. Using this tool for perturbation of astrocytic function, we show that neuronal signals are also affected by changes in the astrocytic state. Plastic change in the state of the brain activity could be due, in part, to the plastic changes of the astrocyte function.

About CiNet’s Monthly Seminar:
In CiNet Monthly Seminar, distinguished external (national and international) speakers will give a lecture about their latest work. The lecture will be held once a month from 16:00 at the CiNet main lecture theatre, followed by an informal discussion in the coffee room. List of speakers will be announced in advance. Everyone is welcome to attend, and welcome to join the after seminar discussion.

Coming up:
# 7 May 15 (Mon.): Sensory gating during voluntary movement: neural correlates in the cortical and subcortical network
Kazuhiko SEKI, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry

# 8 June 5 (Mon.): Perceptual learning and neural plasticity in adult human brain
Fang FANG, School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences, Peking University

# 9 July 28 (Fri.): TBA
Katsu YAMANE, Disney Research

#10 August 4 (Fri.): TBA
Masanori MATSUZAKI, Gradual School of Medicine, Tokyo University

#11 September 22 (Fri.): Prefrontal Cortex and Conscious Perception
Hakwan LAU, Department of Psychology (Cognitive & Behavioral Neuroscience) & Brain Research Institute, UCLA

#12 October 13 (Fri.): TBA
Ralph ADOLPHS, California Institute of Technology