Research outline

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Welcome to Ohtsuka lab at Department of Biochemistry, Graduate School of Medicine/Faculty of Medicine, University of Yamanashi. We are very much interested in molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the structure and function of presynaptic active zones (AZs). AZ is a slightly-electron dense region beneath the presynaptic plasma membrane, where synaptic vesicles specifically dock and fuse with AZ. Thus, AZ is thought to regulate release of neurotransmitters in a temporally and spatially coordinated manner. In order to elucidate the physiological role of AZ, we have employed interdisciplinary technologies including solid biochemistry, molecular biology, electron microscopy, and genetics.


March 2023
New Our new A paper has been just released in Molecular Brain !
Experience-dependent changes in affective valence of taste in male mice
May 2020
Our new CAST/ELKS paper has been just released in J. Physiology !
Presynaptic development is controlled by the core active zone proteins CAST/ELKS
March 2020
Our new CAST/ELKS paper has been just released in Scientific reports !
Impaired experience-dependent maternal care in presynaptic active zone protein CAST-deficient dams

February 2020
A paper on IBI has been published
International Brain Initiative: An Innovative Framework for Coordinated Global Brain Research Efforts.


Our new CAST/ELKS paper has been just released in Molecular Brain !
Double deletion of the active zone proteins CAST/ELKS in the mouse forebrain causes high mortality of newborn pups.

September 2019
Our new CAST/ELKS paper has been just released in Mol Metab !
Role of the active zone protein, ELKS, in insulin secretion from pancreatic β-cells. in Mol Metab.
January 2019
Our new CAST/ELKS paper has been just released in Cell Reports !
ELKS/Voltage-dependent Ca2+ channel-β Subunit Module Regulates Polarized Ca2+ Influx in Pancreatic β-Cells. in Cell Reports
September 2018
Our new CAST/ELKS paper has been just released in J. Cell Biol. !
Cytomatrix proteins CAST and ELKS regulate retinal photoreceptor development and maintenance. in J. Cell Biol.
July 2018
CAST/ELKS proteins control voltage-gated Ca2+ channel density and synaptic release probability at a mammalian central synapse. in Cell Reports
February 2018
CAST: its molecular structure and phosphorylation-dependent regulation of presynaptic plasticity. in Neurosci. Res.
January 2018
Synaptic localisation of SRF coactivators, MKL1 and MKL2, and their role in dendritic spine morphology. in Scientific Reports.
Mutations in bassoon in individuals with familial and sporadic progressive supranuclear palsy-like syndrome. in Scientific Reports.
March 2017
A Wnt5 Activity Asymmetry and Intercellular Signaling via PCP Proteins Polarize Node Cells for Left-Right Symmetry Breaking. in Developmental Cell.
March 2017
The Auxiliary Calcium Channel Subunit α2δ4 Is Required for Axonal Elaboration, Synaptic Transmission, and Wiring of Rod Photoreceptors. in Neuron.
September 2016
Our new SAD/CAST paper was now published in Cell Reports!
SAD-B Phosphorylation of CAST Controls Active Zone Vesicle Recycling for Synaptic Depression.
July 2016
The active zone protein CAST regulates synaptic vesicle recycling and quantal size in the mouse hippocampus. in European Journal of Neuroscience.
March 2016
Dopamine synapse is a neuroligin-2–mediated contact between dopaminergic presynaptic and GABAergic postsynaptic structures. in PNAS.
October 2015
SAD-B kinase regulates presynaptic vesicular dynamics at hippocampal Schaffer collateral synapses and affects contextual fear memory. in Journal of Neurochemistry.