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A variety of reactions comprise the complex networks in a cell, ultimately allowing one cell to live, proliferate, and differentiate. We are interested in three phenomena: signal transduction, control of gene function, and morphology and control of cell motility. Within these phenomena, we focus on themes depicted in the figures below, including key factors or structures, and conduct detailed research studies using methods from genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, and cell biology. Even if the themes are different, the foundational framework and methods are shared and research is conducted by reciprocal discussions and stimuli.

Formation and regulation of heterochromatin.

DNA, which is the carrier of genetic information, is neatly packaged inside the nucleus. The main factor responsible for this space-effective folding is chromatin, which is the structure consisting of histone proteins and DNA. Various chromatin structures occur within the nucleus, including heterochromatin, which is associated with cell differentiation, senescence, and cancer, as well as in maintenance of chromosomes, or the storage units of DNA. How is heterochromatin formed at the appropriate time and place? How are these maintained? Furthermore, what controls the activities of heterochromatin? Our research aims to answer these questions.

[More details here (The publication list can be found here.)]

Regulatory mehansim for changes and/or maintaining cellular morphology.

The human body consists of different types of cells that have specialized morphologies. Each cell can function by maintaining its morphology. When the cells divide or migrate, their morphology is changed. The localized polymerization of actin units into filaments, which serve as a component of the cytoskeleton, and motor proteins such as myosin II that move actin filaments, play important roles in allowing changes and/or maintaining cellular morphology. We are interested in determining how myosin II functions at specific time points and at particular cellular locations.

[More details here (The publication list can be found here.)]

Regulatory mechanisms of Ca2+-mediated intracellular signal transduction.

Cells respond to a variety of extracellular stimuli. Normally, cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentrations are maintained at a low level; however, it increases locally and temporarily in response to stimuli and functions as an intracellular signaling molecule. Ca2+-mediated signaling pathways are involved in diverse cellular processes from gene expression to functional regulation of proteins. We hope to understand the molecular mechanism of action of calmodulin, a Ca2+ molecular switch, and calcineurin, a protein phosphatase regulated by Ca2+ and calmodulin, to determine how these molecules function only at the required place and the required time.

[More details here (The publication list can be found here.)]