Grant-in-Aid for Transformative Research Areas (A) in FY2021 - 2025
“Cell type census of adaptive neuronal circuits: biological mechanisms of structural and functional organization” (Adaptive Circuit Census, ACC)

It is my pleasure to announce the new project area "Cell-type census of adaptive neuronal circuits: biological mechanisms of structural and functional organization. (Adaptive Circuit Census, ACC)" as a Transformative Research Area (A) of the 5-year Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI).
In order to survive, all animals need to adapt their behavior depending on internal and external conditions. This behavioral adaptation is achieved by constructing and altering numerous neuronal activities and circuits ("adaptive circuits").
In the field of neuroscience, dramatic development of advanced technologies has enabled optical observation and manipulation of large numbers of neurons. However, most of these methods are based solely on conventional neuronal markers or their promoters, and consequently lack cell-specific circuit resolution. To reveal the precise mechanisms of adaptive circuits, we have awaited the emergence of innovative technology that allows us to classify and manipulate individual neurons. Nowadays, rapid innovation of single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) technologies has made it possible to dissect cell-type specificity and comprehensively analyze gene expression patterns in individual living cells, providing a novel way to perform experimental neuroscience.
By combining advanced techniques for measuring and manipulating neural circuit activity with recently developed cutting-edge single-cell level techniques for comprehensive gene expression analysis and micro-sample manipulation, we will reveal the actual adaptive circuits that control animals' behavior and reveal their connectivity and operating principles ("adaptive circuit census").
In our research area, we will promote interdisciplinary research to clarify the mechanisms of adaptive circuits at the single-cell resolution by integrating multiple technological streams. Researchers from different fields such as genome biology, bioinformatics, animal psychology, neural computation, and front-line neuroscience will be encouraged to join and build a collaborative system. One of our main aims is cultivating the next generation of neuroscience inspired by the challenging ideas of young and energetic researchers. Knowledge of the adaptive circuit census should bring about clinical therapies targeting neuropsychiatric disorders with fewer side effects, the development of artificial intelligence, and robotics with power-saving and noise-resistant features.

Project leader

Prof. Yoshikazu Isomura Ph.D.

Tokyo Medical and Dental University