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2. Shootin 1 - Novel Proteins for neuronal network

formation in brain by Assoc. Prof. N. Inagaki


In a brain, neurons work as if they were semi-conductors

constituting a computer. For these to function, the

polarity of neurons is important. How does the neuron

form the axon and dendrite to acquire polarity? We have

attempted to clarify this issue at the molecular level by

means of proteome analysis and found a novel protein

named Shootin1, which regulates the polarity of axon.

This finding will lead to the therapy of neuro-degenerating

disease such as Head Injury and Neuropathy.



New molecule in rat axon; Shootin 1. 


3. Neuropsin - Novel serine-protease, a role in the

mechanism for learning and memory by Prof. S.

Shiosaka (tentative)

Our research is focused on the neural functions of

cerebral cortex and limbic brain (hippocampus, amygdala,

etc.) using techniques of neuroanatomy, electrophysiology,

biochemistry and behavioral neuroscience. One of major

topics is the elucidation of a mechanism for learning and

memory. To date, we have demonstrated that neuropsin

(klk8) plays a significant role in the regulation of E-LTP

(early phase of long-term potentiation), and regulates

intracellular signals of the limbic brain. We expect the

study results contribute to the therapy of CNS disease

such as Alzheimer disease.





4. Osteoclast differentiation and bone metabolism -

osteoporosis and autoimmune diseases by Prof.

T. Takeya


Osteoclasts, involved in bone resorption, play a central

role in bone metabolism. Disturbed formation of

osteoclasts can lead to the diseases such as

osteoporosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. We are

placing an emphasis on the analysis of the function

of NFAT2, a key differentiation regulator; the

mechanism for cell fusion seen during differentiation

and the mechanism for intracellular signal

transduction involving proto-oncogene Src.

Interesting finding in our research could lead to the

novel therapy of bone disease and autoimmune


Osteoclast Differentiation Process






5 a. Connection between cell cycle progression

and oncogenesis (Prof. Jun-ya Kato)

Prof. Kato focuses on the molecular mechanisms

controlling proliferation, differentiation, and death

of mammalian cells, and studies the connection

between cell cycle progression and oncogenesis,

as well as differentiation, proliferation, and

leukemogenesis in hematopoietic cells. The

findings can be applied to regenerative medicine

and cancer research. Especially he is investigating

the molecular mechanisms underlying

leukemogenesis, focusing on AML (acute myeloid

leukemia), MDS (myelodysplastic syndromes), and

CML (chronic myeloid leukemia).


5 b. Unique Mouse models of hepatitis and

diabetes mellitius (Prof. Kenji Kohno)

Prof. Kohno, using a unique TRECK method, has

created mouse models of hepatitis and diabetes

mellitus. These TRECK-Tg mice will be useful not

only in developing new therapies but also in

exploring tissue-stem cells of adult mice. He is

attempting to apply these mouse models to

regenerative medicine (isolation and identification

of hepatic stem cells and pancreatic beta-stem




5 c. Research on genes regulating TGF-

signals and its application to RA and OA

(Dr. Chiyo Oka)

TGF- is dispensable for shaping of animals,

e.g., for determination of the dorsoventral axis of

early embryos and regulation of the

differentiation of fetal skeleton. It is also involved

in preservation of the function of various organs

of mature organisms. Its abnormalities can lead

to malignant courses of tumors and onset of

common sicknesses such as pulmonary fibrosis

and osteoarthritis. Prof Kawaichi and Dr. Oka

have identified a previously unknown gene HtrA1

involved in the formation of bone and joint, onset

of arthritis, tumor malignancy and so on; and are

analyzing its physiological functions. These

researches could lead to the therapy of TGF-

related diseases such as OA, RA and cancer.