Our Research for Your Good Sleep

Welcome to Y/F lab

Solving the mystery of sleep~Developing new intervention methods for healthy slumber~

The familiar phenomenon of sleep is, in fact, a great mystery in neuroscience; for example, we still do not fully understand why we have to sleep or how daily sleep amounts are kept relatively constant. Although our discovery of orexin has helped to unlock the door to the sleep disorder narcolepsy, the black box of sleep/wake control still remains a challenge for scientists. In order to crack open the black box, we are engaged in forward genetic analysis of randomly mutagenized mice for sleep abnormalities, which lead us to identify new sleep-regulating genes such as Sik3 and Nalcn. In combination with in vivo calcium imaging and slice path clamp recording, we are working on identifying the neural and molecular circuits responsible for sleep regulation. We fully recognize that unlocking the mysteries surrounding sleep will require such a multi-pronged approach. We are also focusing on basic research that leads to clinical applications. In particular, one approach we are actively pursuing is to develop small molecule agonists for the orexin receptor, which become candidates of a novel drug for the mechanistic treatment of narcolepsy and other conditions with excessive sleepiness.


ランダムに突然変異を生じたマウスの睡眠を調べ、遺伝性に睡眠異常を示す家系を樹立し、原因遺伝子変異を同定することによって、SIK3、NALCNという新規の睡眠制御分子を見出しました。同定された遺伝子から、睡眠制御のパスウェイが解明されると期待して、日夜実験に取り組んでいます。研究室では、自然な睡眠覚醒を示すマウスの神経細胞の活動をありのままに観察するin vivoイメージングや脳スライスを用いたパッチクランプ法を組み合わせた実験も行われています。逆に言えば、このような幅広い手法でアプローチをしないと睡眠を巡るミステリーを解き明かすことはできないのです。さらに、基礎研究から臨床へ応用できる研究にも力を注いでおり、特にオレキシン受容体に対する低分子量アゴニストの開発が進行しています。