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Neuroscience Homepage  > Faculty List > Nakagawa
Yasushi Nakagawa, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Neuroscience, Stem Cell Institute and Developmental Biology Center   
Development of the mammalian forebrain

Our current interests include the intrinsic mechanisms of thalamic development and the roles of thalamic input in neocortical development. We extensively use mouse genetics and in vivo gene delivery into developing embryos. Efforts in our lab are directed at two major goals:
  1. We are trying to understand how the developing thalamus produces different neuronal populations that later form distinct nuclei. We have characterized the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of progenitor cell populations in the thalamus. We are now trying to reveal molecular mechanisms that regulate such heterogeneity. Some of our recent works have determined the roles of Sonic hedgehog and Wnt signaling in this process, and how these intrinsic patterning mechanisms eventually affect the formation of thalamic nuclei in mice.

  2. We are trying to examine the roles of thalamocortical projections in the formation of functionally and anatomically distinct sensory areas in neocortex. To dissect local patterning mechanisms operating within neocortex and extrinsic mechanisms conveyed by the thalamic input, we are analyzing mutant mice in which certain thalamic nuclei are specifically alerted in size or the entire thalamocortical projections are compromised. Using these mice, we will determine the precise roles of thalamic afferents in neocortical development.
Selected Publications
Chou S.J., Babot Z., Leingärtner A., Studer M., Nakagawa Y. and O'Leary D.D. (2013)
Geniculocortical input drives genetic distinctions between primary and higher-order visual areas.
Science 340(6137): 1239-42
Vue T.Y., Lee M., Tan Y.E., Werkhoven Z., Wang L. and Nakagawa Y. (2013)
Thalamic control of neocortical area formation in mice.
J. Neurosci. 33(19): 8442-53
Saulnier A., et al. (2012)
The Doublesex Homolog Dmrt5 is Required for the Development of the Caudomedial Cerebral Cortex in Mammals.
Cereb. Cortex 2012 Aug 23 [Epub ahead of print]
Bluske K.K., Vue T.Y., Kawakami Y., Taketo M.M., Yoshikawa K. Johnson J.E. and Nakagawa Y. (2012)
β-catenin signaling specifies progenitor cell identity in parallel with Shh signaling in the developing mammalian thalamus.
Development 139: 2692-2702
Nakagawa Y. and Shimogori T. (2012)
Diversity of thalamic progenitor cells and postmitotic neurons.
Eur. J. Neurosci. 35(10): 1554-62
Wang L., Bluske K.K., Dickel L.K., Nakagawa Y. (2011)
Basal progenitor cells in the embryonic mouse thalamus--their molecular characterization and the role of neurogenins and Pax6. 
Neural Dev. 6: 35
Kawakami Y., Marti M., Kawakami H., Itou J., Quach T., Johnson A., Sahara S., O’Leary D.D.M., Nakagawa Y., Lewandoski M., Pfaff S., Evans S. and Izpisua Belmonte, J.C. (2011)
Islet1-mediated activation of  the β-catenin pathway is necessary for hindlimb initiation in mice.
Development 138(20): 4465-73
Aaker J.D., Patineau A.L., Yang H.J., Nakagawa Y., McLoon S.K. and Koyano-Nakagawa N. (2010)
Interaction of MTG family proteins with NEUROG2 and ASCL1 in the developing nervous system.
Neurosci. Lett. 474(1): 46-51
Bluske K.K., Kawakami Y., Koyano-Nakagawa N. and Nakagawa Y. (2009)
Differential activity of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling in the embryonic mouse thalamus.
Dev. Dyn. 238(12): 3297-309
Davidson S., Truong H., Nakagawa Y. and Giesler G.J. Jr. (2010)
A microinjection technique for targeting regions of embryonic and neonatal mouse brain in vivo.
Brain Res. 1307: 43-52
Aaker J.D., Patineau A.L., Yang H.J., Ewart D.T., Gong W., Li T., Nakagawa Y., McLoon S.K. and Koyano-Nakagawa N. (2009)
Feed-back regulation of Neurogenin 2 activity by MTGR1 is required for progression of neurogenesis.
Mol. Cell. Neurosci. 42(4): 267-77
Alishahi A, Koyano-Nakagawa N, Nakagawa Y. (2009)
Regional expression of MTG genes in the developing mouse central nervous system.
Dev. Dyn. 238(8):2095-102

Vue T.Y., Bluske K.K., Alishahi A., Yang L., Koyano-Nakagawa N., Novitch B. and Nakagawa Y. (2009)
Sonic hedgehog signaling controls thalamic progenitor identity and nuclei specification in mice.
J. Neurosci. 29(14): 4484-97

Kim EJ, Bastise J, Nakagawa Y, Johnson JE (2008)
Ascl1 (Mash1) lineage cells contribute to discrete cell populations in CNS architecture.
Mol. Cell Neurosci. 38(4): 595-606
Vue T.Y., Aaker J., Taniguchi A., Kazemzadeh C.L., Skidmore J., Martin D., Martin J., Treier M. and Nakagawa Y. (2007)
Characterization of progenitor domains in the developing mouse thalamus.
J. Comp. Neurol. 505(1): 73-91
Burns T.C., Ortiz-Gonzales X.R., Gutierrez-Perez M., Keene C.D., Sharda R., Demorest Z.L., Jiang Y., Nelson-Holte M., Soriano M., Nakagawa Y., Luquin M.R., Garcia-Verdugo J.M., Prosper F., Low W.C., Verfaillie C.M. (2006)
Thymidine analogs are transferred from pre-labeled donor to host cells in the central nervous system after transplantation: a word of caution.
Stem Cells 24(4): 1121-27


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