Hiro Furukawa

Hiro Furukawa


Ph.D., The University of Tokyo, 2001

furukawa@cshl.edu | 516-367-8872

Furukawa Lab Website   Faculty Profile

The nervous system transmits information by passing chemical signals from one nerve cell to the others. This signal transmission relies on a variety of proteins to receive and transmit the chemical signals. My group studies the structure and function of neurotransmitter receptors and ion channels that regulate fundamental neuronal activities.

Hiro Furukawa’s lab studies receptor molecules involved in neurotransmission. Its members mainly focus on the structure and function of NMDA (N-methyl-d-aspartate) receptors — ion channels that mediate excitatory transmission. Dysfunctional NMDA receptors cause neurological disorders and diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, depression, and stroke-related ischemic injuries. The Furukawa lab is working to solve the threedimensional structure of the very large NMDA receptor by dividing it into several domains. They seek to understand the pharmacological specificity of neurotransmitter ligands and allosteric modulators in different subtypes of NMDA receptors at the molecular level. Toward this end, they use cutting-edge techniques in X-ray crystallography to obtain crystal structures of the NMDA receptor domains and validate structure-based functional hypotheses by a combination of biophysical techniques including electrophysiology, fluorescence analysis, isothermal titration calorimetry, and analytical centrifugation. Crystal structures of NMDA receptors serve as a blueprint for creating and improving the design of therapeutic compounds with minimal side effects for treating neurological disorders and diseases. During the last several years, the team discovered and mapped several regulatory sites in specific classes of NMDA receptors, progress that now opens the way to the development of a new potential class of drugs to modulate the receptor activity.

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Selected Publications

On the molecular nature of large-pore channels.

15 Apr 2021 | Journal of Molecular Biology | :166994
Syrjanen, Johanna, Michalski, Kevin, Kawate, Toshimitsu, Furukawa, Hiro

Hodgkin-Huxley-Katz Prize Lecture: Genetic and pharmacological control of glutamate receptor channel through a highly conserved gating motif

Aug 2020 | The Journal of Physiology | 598(15):3071-3083
Perszyk, R, Myers, S, Yuan, H, Gibb, A, Furukawa, H, Sobolevsky, A, Traynelis, S

Publisher Correction: Structure and assembly of calcium homeostasis modulator proteins.

Mar 2020 | Nature Structural and Molecular Biology | 27(3):305
Syrjanen, Johanna, Michalski, Kevin, Chou, Tsung-Han, Grant, Timothy, Rao, Shanlin, Simorowski, Noriko, Tucker, Stephen, Grigorieff, Nikolaus, Furukawa, Hiro

The cryo-EM structure of a pannexin 1 reveals unique motifs for ion selection and inhibition

12 Feb 2020 | eLife | 9
Michalski, K, Syrjanen, J, Henze, E, Kumpf, J, Furukawa, H, Kawate, T

All Publications

Development and characterization of functional antibodies targeting NMDA receptors

17 Feb 2022 | Nature Communications | 13(1):923
Tajima, Nami, Simorowski, Noriko, Yovanno, Remy, Regan, Michael, Michalski, Kevin, Gómez, Ricardo, Lau, Albert, Furukawa, Hiro

Structure, Function, and Pharmacology of Glutamate Receptor Ion Channels

Oct 2021 | Pharmacological Reviews | 73(4):298-487
Hansen, Kasper, Wollmuth, Lonnie, Bowie, Derek, Furukawa, Hiro, Menniti, Frank, Sobolevsky, Alexander, Swanson, Geoffrey, Swanger, Sharon, Greger, Ingo, Nakagawa, Terunaga, McBain, Chris, Jayaraman, Vasanthi, Low, Chian-Ming, Dell'Acqua, Mark, Diamond, Jeffrey, Camp, Chad, Perszyk, Riley, Yuan, Hongjie, Traynelis, Stephen

Structural Mechanism for Modulation of Synaptic Neuroligin-Neurexin Signaling by MDGA Proteins.

6 Jan 2021 | Neuron | 109(1):189-190
Elegheert, Jonathan, Cvetkovska, Vedrana, Clayton, Amber, Heroven, Christina, Vennekens, Kristel, Smukowski, Samuel, Regan, Michael, Jia, Wanyi, Smith, Alexandra, Furukawa, Hiro, Savas, Jeffrey, de Wit, Joris, Begbie, Jo, Craig, Ann, Aricescu, A

Structural Basis of Functional Transitions in Mammalian NMDA Receptors.

23 Jul 2020 | Cell | 182(2):357-371.e13
Chou, Tsung-Han, Tajima, Nami, Romero-Hernandez, Annabel, Furukawa, Hiro

Structure and assembly of calcium homeostasis modulator proteins

27 Jan 2020 | Nature Structural and Molecular Biology | 27(2):150-159
Syrjanen, J, Michalski, K, Chou, T, Grant, T, Rao, S, Simorowski, N, Tucker, S, Grigorieff, N, Furukawa, H

Structural basis of subtype-selective competitive antagonism for GluN2C/2D-containing NMDA receptors

22 Jan 2020 | Nature Communications | 11(1):423
Wang, J, Irvine, M, Burnell, E, Sapkota, K, Thatcher, R, Li, M, Simorowski, N, Volianskis, A, Collingridge, G, Monaghan, D, Jane, D, Furukawa, H

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