Integrated Biology Laboratories

Laboratory of Pattern Formation

Prof. KONDO Shigeru Prof. KONDO Shigeru


Skin pattern of fish, Reaction diffusion, Corners of beetles, Formation of fin bones, 3D structure

Clarifying the mechanisms generating the spatial pattern and the shape of organisms

Functions of the organs and tissues in our body depend on their shape. How are such shapes formed and maintained? One of the answers to this question is "genes". However, it is impossible to explain structures that are built much larger than the size of cells with the explanation of genes, because gene only function in cells. An alternative answer is “the rules of physics”. We have proved that the skin pattern of fish is formed by a kind of wave (Turing wave) derived from the interaction between two kinds of pigment cells. Recently, we started projects to clarify the mechanisms generating the 3D structure of fish bones and the exoskeletons of insects. If you want to know the answer, please knock on the door to our laboratory. You will see something unexpected and fascinating.

The figure shows a zebrafish vertebra. The size of the cells is much smaller than the bone, and the cells have neither hands nor eyes. There is no measuring tape. But the cells are able to make correctly this size of 'structure'. How do they do it? Find out and you'll be amazed at how!


Shigeru Kondo (Professor) skondo[at]
Masakatsu Watanabe (Associate Professor) watanabe-m[at]
Junpei Kuroda (Assistant professor) jkuroda[at]
Seita Miyazawa(Specially Appointed Associate Professor) seita[at]
Toshihiro Aramaki (Researcher) taramaki[at]
Hiromu Hino (Researcher)  
Keisuke Matsuda(Researcher)  
Keiko Takeda (Secretary)  
Midori Tanaka   (Technical Staff)  
Rie Taniguchi  (Technical Staff)  
Shizuma Kazuko  (Technical Staff)  

You could probably reach more information of individual researchers by Research Map and researcher's search of Osaka-U.

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What is your hot research topic?
Regarding the research of the bone morphogenesis, the relationship between the collagen crystals and the cells that manipulate them is interesting. The cells assemble pillars (collagen crystals) to make fin bones in the way similar to the workers on a construction site with a division of labor. Also interesting is the mechanism of the sudden emergence of complex and huge structures, such as beetle horns. Insects create a huge structure in a compactly folded state, and then inflate it, allowing sudden morphological changes. We named this method a reversed origami method.
What is your breakthrough or research progress in the last 5 years?
The principle of folding the hornes of beetles is mostly understood. The three-dimensional structure of a horn is encrypted into a two-dimensional pattern on the furrows of the surface of the imaginal disc of the horn, and various shapes of horns can appear by changing the furrow pattern.
What kind of background do your lab members have?
We have members from a wide variety of backgrounds. Since the basis of research is molecular genetic experiments, there are many life-related students, but it is possible to acquire this knowledge within about a year. The rest depends on your imagination.
Do you collaborate with other institutions and universities?
We often collaborate with specialists in physical simulation and mathematical models. The basic stance of our laboratory is “proving by experiment”. Therefore, most members in our laboratory conduct experiment-based research. When the phenomenon turnes out to be very complex, mathematical processing such as simulation is often required to understand. In such cases, we ask specialists to join us and do the simulation together. We don't leave all simulations to experts. We believe that it is necessary for those involved in research to understand both experiments and research.
What kind of careers do your Lab's alumni go on to?
Those who have obtained a doctorate are mostly working in academia, and are working as researchers at universities, RIKEN, and life science ventures. In addition, one individual became a curator of an aquarium using her experience in fish pattern research. Most of the Master's graduates have joined different companies.
How do you develop your research?
Our research is similar to a treasure hunt adventure. I would like to find a "treasure" such as a folding method that can produce all external forms of insects, the principle of creating 3D structures of arbitrary bones, and the principle of determines the size of bones.

Research Highlights

Publications (Research Articles, Reviews, Books)


Shin-Ichiro Ei 1, Hiroshi Ishii 2, Shigeru Kondo 3, Takashi Miura 4, Yoshitaro Tanaka 5

Effective nonlocal kernels on reaction-diffusion networks

J Theor Biol. 509:110496  2021 PMID:33007272 DOI:10.1016/j.jtbi.2020.110496


Seita Miyazawa

Pattern blending enriches the diversity of animal colorations

Sci. Adv. 6(49):eabb9107  2020 PMID:33268371 DOI:10.1126/sciadv.abb9107

Junpei Kuroda, Takeshi Itabashi, Atsuko H. Iwane, Toshihiro Aramaki, Shigeru Kondo

The physical role of mesenchymal cells driven by the actin cytoskeleton is essential for the orientation of collagen fibrils in zebrafish fins

Front. Cell Dev. Biol. 8:580520  2020 PMID:33154970 DOI:10.3389/fcell.2020.580520

Haruhiko Adachi, Keisuke Matsuda, Teruyuki Niimi, Shigeru Kondo & Hiroki Gotoh

Genetical control of 2D pattern and depth of the primordial furrow that prefigures 3D shape of the rhinoceros beetle horn

Sci Rep 10(1):18687  2020 PMID:33122767 DOI:10.1038/s41598-020-75709-y

Shin-Ichiro Ei , Hiroshi Ishii , Shigeru Kondo , Takashi Miura , Yoshitaro Tanaka

Effective nonlocal kernels on reaction-diffusion networks

J Theor Biol 509:110496  2020 PMID:33007272 DOI:10.1016/j.jtbi.2020.110496

Haruhiko Adachi, Keisuke Matsuda, Kenji Nishida, Paul Hanson, Shigeru Kondo, Hiroki Gotoh

Structure and development of the complex helmet of treehoppers (Insecta: Hemiptera: Membracidae)

Zoological Lett 6:03  2020 PMID:32123574 DOI:10.1186/s40851-020-00155-7

Burendei, B., Shinozaki, R., Watanabe, M., Terada, T., Tani, K., Fujiyoshi, Y., Oshima, A.

Cryo-EM structures of undocked innexin-6 hemichannels in phospholipids

Sci. Adv. 6(7):eaax3157  2020 PMID:32095518 DOI:10.1126/sciadv.aax3157

Toshihiro Aramaki, Shigeru Kondo

Method for disarranging the pigment pattern of zebrafish by optogenetics.

Dev. Biol. 460(1):12-19  2020 PMID:30578760 DOI:10.1016/j.ydbio.2018.12.019


Usui, Y., Aramaki, T., Kondo, S., Watanabe, M.

The minimal gap-junction network among melanophores and xanthophores required for stripe-pattern formation in zebrafish

Development 146(22)  2019 PMID:31666235 DOI:10.1242/dev.181065

Sakashita M, Sato M, Kondo S

Comparative morphological examination of vertebral bodies of teleost fish using high-resolution micro-CT scans.

J. Morphol. 280(6):778-795  2019 PMID:30945336 DOI:10.1002/jmor.20983

Denis, J. F., Diagbouga, M. R., Molica, F., Hautefort, A., Linnerz, T., Watanabe, M., Lemeille, S., Bertrand, J. Y., Kwak, B. R.

KLF4-Induced Connexin40 Expression Contributes to Arterial Endothelial Quiescence.

Front. Physiol. 0.472222222  2019 PMID:30809154 DOI:10.3389/fphys.2019.00080


Marc Chanson, Masakatsu Watanabe, Erin M. O’Shaughnessy, Alice Zoso, Patricia E. Martin

Connexin Communication Compartments and Wound Repair in Epithelial Tissue

Int. J. Mol. Sci. 19(5):1354  2018 PMID:29751558 DOI:10.3390/ijms19051354

Risa Sawada, Toshihiro Aramaki, Shigeru Kondo

Flexibility of pigment cell behavior permits the robustness of skin pattern formation

Genes Cells 23(7):537-545  2018 PMID:29797484 DOI:10.1111/gtc.12596

Adachi, H., Matsuda, K., Niimi, T., Inoue, Y., Kondo, S., Gotoh, H.

Anisotropy of cell division and epithelial sheet bending via apical constriction shape the complex folding pattern of beetle horn primordia

Mech. Dev. 152:32-37  2018 PMID:29920372 DOI:10.1016/j.mod.2018.06.003

Yuu Usui, Shigeru Kondo, Masakatsu Watanabe

Melanophore multinucleation pathways in zebrafish

Dev. Growth Diff. 60:454-459  2018 PMID:30088265 DOI:10.1111/dgd.12564

Ryo Mizuuchi, Hiroshi Kawase, Hirofumi Shin, Daisuke Iwai, Shigeru Kondo

Simple rules for construction of a geometric nest structure by pufferfish

Sci Rep 8(1):12366  2018 PMID:30120331 DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-30857-0


Keisuke Matsuda, Hiroki Gotoh, Yuki Tajika, Takamichi Sushida, Hitoshi Aonuma, Teruyuki Niimi, Masakazu Akiyama, Yasuhiro Inoue, Shigeru Kondo

Complex furrows in a 2D epithelial sheet code the 3D structure of a beetle horn

Sci Rep 7(1):13939  2017 PMID:29066748 DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-14170-w

Masakatsu Watanabe

Gap Junction in the Teleost Fish Lineage: Duplicated Connexins May Contribute to Skin Pattern Formation and Body Shape Determination

Frontiers in Cell Dev. Biol, Cell Adhesion and Migration   2017 PMID:28271062 DOI:10.3389/fcell.2017.00013


Shigeru Kondo

An updated kernel-based Turing model for studying the mechanisms of biological pattern formation

J. Theor. Biol. 414:120-127  2016 PMID:27838459 DOI:10.1016/j.jtbi.2016.11.003

Watanabe, M., Kondo, S.

Genetics of body shape: Connexin43 is the key to two zebrafish mutants with shorter backbones and fins

Atlas of Science   2016

Shinya Inoue, Shigeru Kondo

Suture pattern formation in ammonites and the unknown rear mantle structure

Sci Rep 6:33689  2016 PMID:27640361 DOI:10.1038/srep33689

Akihiro Misu, Hiroaki Yamanaka, Toshihiro Aramaki, Shigeru Kondo, I. Martha Skerrett, M. Kathryn Iovine, Masakatsu Watanabe

Two different functions of Connexin43 confer two different bone phenotypes in zebrafish

J. Biol. Chem. 291(24):12601-11  2016 PMID:27129238 DOI:10.1074/jbc.M116.720110

Our ideal candidate (as a graduate student)

We are looking for a highly motivated person to work on our research topics as our lab member. Our lab welcomes the person who loves taking care of creatures, hand working and handcraft too. Any kind of background (such as your expertise or major) is available.


Laboratory of Pattern Formation, Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, Osaka University,
1-3 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871 Japan.


E-mail: skondo[at] (Prof. Shigeru Kondo)

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