Exploring contributions of glial cells to brain circuits and adaptive/maladaptive behavior.

Jun Nagai

Jun Nagai, Ph.D.

Team Leader, Glia-Neuron Circuit Dynamics
jun.nagai [at] riken.jp

Research Overview

The lab’s mission is to discover fundamental mechanisms how the brain functions and malfunctions at molecular, cellular, circuit and behavioral levels by including “the other half” of the CNS; glial cells. Studies about astrocytes, a type of glia that tile the entire brain and structurally and functionally interact with neurons, synapses and other glia, have lagged behind partially due to the lack of tools. By developing and utilizing opto-/pharmaco-genetic, imaging, molecular biology and electrophysiology tools, the team aims to unveil astrocyte contributions to adaptive and maladaptive animal behaviors for delivering insights on future therapeutics.

Main Research Field

Biological Sciences

Related Research Fields


Selected Publications

  1. (1co-first authors) 1Nagai, J., 1Yu, X., Papouin, T., Cheong, E., Freeman, M.R., Monk, K.R., Hastings, M.H., Haydon, P.G., Rowitch, D., Shaham, S., Khakh, B.S.
    "Behaviorally consequential astrocytic regulation of neural circuits."
    Neuron in press. (2021).
  2. (1co-first authors) 1Yu, X., 1Nagai, J., Marti, M., Coppola, G., Babu, M. M., Khakh, B.S.
    "Context-specific astrocyte molecular responses are phenotypically exploitable."
    Neuron in press. (2020).
  3. (1co-first authors) 1Yu, X., 1Nagai, J., Khakh, B.S.
    "Improved tools to study astrocytes."
    Nature Reviews Neuroscience 21,121-138. (2020).
  4. Nagai, J., Rajbhandari, A.K., Gangwani, M.R., Hachisuka, A., Coppola, G., Masmanidis, S.C., Fanselow, M.S., Khakh, B.S.
    "Hyperactivity with disrupted attention induced by activation of an astrocyte synaptogenic cue."
    Cell 177(5), 1280-92. (2019).
  5. Lobas, M., Tao, R., Nagai, J., Kronschlager, M.T., Borden, P., Marvin, J.S., Looger, L.L., Khakh, B.S.
    "A genetically encoded single-wavelength sensor for imaging cytosolic and cell surface ATP."
    Nature Communications, 10, 711. (2019)
  6. Yu, X., Taylor, A.M.W., Nagai, J., Golshani, P., Evans, C.J., Khakh, B.S.
    "Reducing astrocyte calcium signaling in vivo alters striatal microcircuits and causes repetitive behavior."
    Neuron, 99(6), 1170-87. (2018).
  7. Nagai, J., Baba, R., Ohshima, T.
    "CRMPs function in neurons and glial cells: a potential therapeutic target for neurodegenerative disease and CNS injury."
    Molecular Neurobiology, 54(6), 4243-42. (2017)
  8. Nagai, J., Takaya, R., Piao, W., Goshima, Y., Ohshima, T.
    "Deletion of Crmp4 attenuates CSPG-induced inhibition of axonal growth and induces nociceptive recovery after spinal cord injury."
    Molecular Cellular Neuroscience, 17, 74:42-48. (2016)
  9. Nagai, J., Owada, K., Kitamura, Y., Goshima, Y., Ohshima, T.
    "Inhibition of CRMP2 phosphorylation repairs CNS by regulating neurotrophic and inhibitory responses."
    Experimental Neurology, 277, 283-95. (2016)
  10. Nagai, J., Kitamura, Y., Owada, K., Yamashita, N., Takei, K., Goshima, Y., Ohshima, T.
    "Crmp4 deletion promotes recovery from spinal cord injury by neuroprotection and limited scar formation."
    Scientific Reports, 5, 8269. (2015)