Keiichiro Susuki, M.D., Ph.D.
As a neuroscientist with a clinical background, the mission of my research is to enhance understanding of nervous system development and injury to improve care for patients with neurological diseases. Rapid and efficient nerve conduction is ensured by the neuron-glia interactions forming myelin (a multilamellar structure to insulate axons) and the node of Ranvier (a short gap between two adjacent myelin sheaths to generate action potentials). Dysfunction/disruption of myelin or nodes of Ranvier is a major factor leading to neurological symptoms in a broad range of diseases including multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, and various forms of neuropathy. However, few treatments are available to directly protect myelinated nerves or facilitate nerve regeneration, because of a limited knowledge of the neuron-glia interactions regulating myelination. My long-term research goals are to 1) determine the molecular/cellular mechanisms of formation, maintenance, injury, and repair of myelinated nerve fibers, and 2) develop novel therapeutic approaches for currently intractable neurological diseases. As a member in the translational Neuroscience Institute, my research currently focuses on the glial cell cytoskeletons as well as the molecular complex at the nodes of Ranvier, utilizing genetically modified mice, rodent nerve injury models, and a myelinating neuron-glial cell coculture system.
Susuki K, Chang K-J, Zollinger DR, Liu Y, Ogawa Y, Eshed-Eisenbach Y, Dours-Zimmermann MT, Oses-Prieto J, Burlingame AL, Seidenbecher C, Zimmermann DR, Oohashi T, Peles E, Rasband MN (2013). Three mechanisms assemble central nervous system nodes of Ranvier. Neuron 78:469-482.
Susuki K, Yuki N, Schafer DP, Hirata K, Zhang G, Funakoshi K, Rasband MN (2012). Dysfunction of nodes of Ranvier: a mechanism for anti-ganglioside antibody-mediated neuropathies. Exp Neurol 233:534-542.
Susuki K, Raphael AR, Ogawa Y, Stankewich MC, Peles E, Talbot WS, Rasband MN (2011). Schwann cell spectrins modulate peripheral nerve myelination. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108:8009-8014.
Susuki K, Rasband MN, Tohyama K, Koibuchi K, Okamoto S, Funakoshi K, Hirata K, Baba H, Yuki N (2007). Anti-GM1 antibodies cause complement-mediated disruption of sodium channel clusters in peripheral motor nerve fibers. J Neurosci 27:3956-3967.
Susuki K, Baba H, Tohyama K, Kanai K, Kuwabara S, Hirata K, Furukawa K, Furukawa K, Rasband MN, Yuki N (2007). Gangliosides contribute to stability of paranodal junctions and ion channel clusters in myelinated nerve fibers. Glia 55:746-757.
Susuki K (2013). Node of Ranvier disruption as a cause of neurological diseases. ASN Neuro 5:e00118.
Susuki K (2010). Myelin: A specialized membrane for cell communication. Nature Education 3:59.
Susuki K, Rasband MN (2008). Molecular mechanisms of node of Ranvier formation. Curr Opin Cell Biol 20:616-623.