The human nervous system consists of billions of neurons that are connected via special cell-cell interface called synapse. In addition to the synaptic connection, neurons interact with their neighboring neurons that are not their synaptic target cells. Dr. Kota Mizumoto’s lab is studying how neurons interact with their neighboring neurons/cells during neuronal development using the motor circuit of the roundworm, Caenorhabditis elegans, as a model system. C. elegans has a simple nervous system that consists of 302 neurons. The complete neural connection map and cell lineage are available. Most importantly, countless studies have shown that the mechanisms underlying neuronal development and function are remarkably conserved between C. elegans and mammals.
Findings from Mizumoto’s research using C. elegans will be directly applicable to human nervous system. These features make C. elegans a powerful genetic model system for studying the principles underlying neuronal architecture and inter-neuronal interactions in live animals.
For an up-to-date list of publications by Dr. Mizumoto, please see the Mizumoto lab website.