Division of Molecular and Developmental Biology • Kawakami Group

The genetic basis of development and behaviors in zebrafish



Research Summary

We developed the highly efficient transposon transposition system in zebrafish, and developed powerful genetic methods, including the transgenesis, gene trap, enhancer trap, Gal4-UAS methods. By using these methods, we created a large number of transgenic fish lines that express the yeast Gal4 transcription activator in specific cells, tissues and organs for the applications in developmental biology and neuroscience. We are studying the structure and function of specific neuronal circuits that regulate locomotion, learning and memory. Also, we visualize neuronal activity during behavior by calcium imaging to identify functional neuronal circuits.

GFP expression in specific cells, tissues and organs by gene trapping and enhancer trapping. (upper, left) skeleton, (upper, right) cells on the skin, (lower, left) blood vessels, (lower, right) sensory neurons.

Selected Publications

Muto, A., Lal, P., Ailani, D., Abe, G., Itoh, M., and Kawakami, K. (2017). Activation of the hypothalamic feeding centre upon visual prey detection. Nat Commun 8, 15029.

Kawakami, K., Asakawa, K., Hibi, M., Itoh, M., Muto, A., and Wada, H.(2016). Gal4 driver transgenic zebrafish: powerful tools to study evelopmental biology, organogenesis, and neuroscience. Adv Genet 95, 65-87.

Kawakami, K., Largaespada, D. A., and Ivics, Z. (2017). Transposons as tools for functional genomics in vertebrate models. Trends enet 33, 784-801.

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