Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, Osaka University


Laboratory of Stem Cell Pathology

  Name Email TEL
Professor NAKANO, Toru, MD, PhD +81-6-6879-3720
Associate Prof. MIYAGAWA, Satomi, PhD +81-6-6879-3722
Assistant Prof. YAMAGUCHI, Shinpei, PhD +81-6-6879-3722
FAX +81-6-6879-3729
Postal Mail Address Graduate school of Frontier Biosciences, Osaka University
2-2 Yamada-oka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871 Japan
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Epigenetic Regulation in Development and Differentiation

Epigenetic regulation defined by the gene regulation without alteration of DNA sequence plays critical roles in cell differentiation and development.  Our major goal is the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms of DNA methylation in differentiation and development.

1. Molecular Mechanisms of DNA Demethylation

Global DNA demethylation takes place soon after the fertilization in mammals and is essential for development.  Male and female genomes are differentially demethylated, that is, paternal and maternal genoms are demethylated by active and passive demethylatio, respectively.  However, molecular mechanims of the active demethylation remains elusive.  We are trying to reveal the molecular mechanisms of global DNA demethylation.

2. piRNA and Epigenetic Regulation in Spermatogenesis

There are piRNAs (piwi-interacting RNA), which bind to PIWI family proteins, in spermatogenesis.  We have analyzed the function of mouse PIWI family proteins, MILI and MIWI2, and revealed that thse two factors are essential for de novo DNA methylation of retrotransposons presumably through the piRNA production.  Based on these observations, we are analyzing the mechanisms of piRNA production and the function of piRNA in DNA methylation.

3. Development of Germ Lineage Cells

Germ cells are special cells which can transmit genetic information from generation to generation. And the differentiation status of the cells is fascinating since the cells can be "de-differentiated" to pluripotent stem cells under an appropriate circumstance. Molecular mechanisms of germ cell development and de-differentiation would give a good wealth of information on cell commitment, maturation and re-programming.