Dr. Shigeki Watanabe is trained in genetics, molecular biology and cell biology in C. elegans and mice with a special focus on imaging neuronal functions. He developed two novel techniques in electron microscopy that allow the visualization of proteins and membrane dynamics at synapses. One technique induces membrane movement using the optogenetic stimulation of neurons and captures the subsequent events at a millisecond temporal resolution using a rapid high-pressure freezing method. Another technique pinpoints the locations of proteins within their subcellular context by coupling super-resolution imaging with electron microscopy. Using these techniques, Dr. Watanabe is studying cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying synaptic transmission and synaptic plasticity.
He has collaborated with many scientists across the world and worked with various model organisms, including zebrafish.
Work in the Shigeki Watanabe Lab is focused on cellular and molecular characterizations of rapid changes during synaptic plasticity. Little is known about either how the morphology of spines is regulated or how the surface occupancy of receptors is regulated. What are the morphological changes that trigger synaptic plasticity? How are receptors redistributed during this process? What are the molecular pathways that mediate the redistribution? Researchers aim to answer these questions using cutting-edge electron microscopy techniques in combination with molecular and biochemical approaches.
Lab Website: Shigeki Watanabe Lab
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Watanabe S. "Slow or fast? A tale of synaptic vesicle recycling." Science. 2015;350:46-7.
Watanabe S, Trimbuch T, Camacho-Pérez M, Rost BR, Brokowski B, Söhl-Kielczynski B, Felies A, Davis MW, Rosenmund C, Jorgensen EM. "Clathrin regenerates synaptic vesicles from edosomes." Nature. 2014;515:228-33. doi:10.1038/nature13846.
Watanabe S, Liu Q, Davis MW, Thomas N, Richards J, Hollopeter G, Gu M, Jorgensen NB, Jorgensen EM. "Ultrafast endocytosis at the C. elegans neuromuscular junction." eLife. 2013;2:e00723.
Gu M, Liu Q, Watanabe S, Sun L, Grant B, Jorgensen EM. "AP2 hemicomplexes contribute independently to synaptic vesicle endocytosis." eLife. 2013;2.
Shao Z, Watanabe S, Christensen R, Jorgensen EM, Colón-Ramos DA. "Synapse location during growth depends on glia location." Cell. 2013;154:337-350.
Watanabe S, Rost B, Camacho M, Davis MW, Söhl-Kielczynski B, Felies A, Rosenmund C, Jorgensen EM. "Ultrafast endocytosis at mouse hippocampal synapses." Nature. 2013;504:242-7. doi: 10.1038/12809.