Life Science and Technology News

【Labs spotlight】 Mikiko Tanaka Laboratory

Developmental basis of morphological changes during vertebrate evolution.

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September 20, 2016

The Department has a variety of laboratories for Life Science and Technology, in which cutting-edge innovative research is being undertaken not only in basic science and engineering but also in the areas of medicine, pharmacy, agriculture, and multidisciplinary sciences.

This "Spotlight" series features a laboratory from the Department and introduces you to the laboratory's research projects and outcomes. This time we focus on Mikiko Tanaka Laboratory.

Professor Mikiko Tanaka

Life Science and Technology
Professor Mikiko Tanakaouter

※Professor Mikiko Tanaka was promoted from a Associate Professor on February 1, 2021.

  • PhD 1998, Tohoku University
  • 1998, postdoc, Cheryll Tickle lab, UCL, UK
  • 1998-2003, postdoc, Cheryll Tickle lab, Univ. of Dundee, UK
  • 2003- 2004, postdoc, John H Postlethwait lab, Univ. of Oregon, USA
  • 2004-present, Associate Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology
  • 2021-present, Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology
Areas of Research Developmental Biology, Evolutional Biology, Morphogenesis, Organogenesis
Keywords Evolutionary developmental biology, Morphology, Organogenesis.
Website Mikiko Tanaka Laboratoryouter

Awards and Honors

2010 Young Scientist Initiative Award, Society of Evolutionary Studies, Japan
2006 The Young Scientist's Prize, The Commendation for Science and Technology by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
2006 Kenjiro Nakamura Prize, Tejima Seiichi Commemorative Foundation
2005 Young Scientist Initiative Award, The Zoological Society of Japan
2004 Challenging Research Award, Tokyo Institute of Technology
1998 Inoue Research Award for Young Scientists, Inoue Foundation for Science

Research findings

Selected publications

Control Mechanisms of Genome Expression
  1. 1.Onimaru, K., Marcon, L., Musy, M., Tanaka, M., Sharpe, J. The fin to limb transition as the re-organisation of a Turing pattern. Nature Communications 7, Article number 11582 (2016)
  2. 2.Tanaka, M. Fins into limbs: autopod acquisition and anterior elements reduction by modifying gene networks involving 5'Hox, Gli3 and Shh. Dev. Biol. 413, 1-7 (2016)
  3. 3.Onimaru, K., Kuraku, S., Takagi, W., Hyodo, S., Sharpe, J., Tanaka, M. A shift in anterior-posterior positional information underlies the fin-to-limb evolution. eLife 4, e07048 (2015)
  4. 4.Suda, N., Itoh, T., Nakato, R., Shirakawa, D., Bando, M., Katou, Y., Kataoka, K., Shirahige, K., Tickle, C., Tanaka, M.* Dimeric combination of MafB, cFos and cJun control the apoptosis-survival balance in limb morphogenesis. Development 141, 2885-2894 (2014)
  5. 5.Tanaka, M.* Acquisition of the paired fins: a view from the sequential evolution of the lateral plate mesoderm. Evol. Dev. 109, 8937-8942 (2012)
  6. 6.Hosokawa, Y.*, Ochi, H., Iino, T., Hiraoka, A., Tanaka, M.* Photophoration of biomolecules into single cells in living vertebrate embryos induced by a femtosecond laser amplifier. PLoS ONE 6, e27677 (2011)
  7. 7.Onimaru, K.*, Shoguchi, E., Kuratani, S., Tanaka, M.* Development and evolution of the lateral plate mesoderm: Comparative analysis of amphioxus and lamprey with implications for the acquisition of paired fins. Dev. Biol. 359, 124-136 (2011)
  8. 8.Murakami, Y. *, Tanaka, M. * Evolution of motor innervation to fins and limbs. Dev. Biol. 355, 164-172 (2011)
  9. 9.Tanaka, M.* Revealing the mechanisms of rostral shift of pelvic fins among teleost fishes. Evol. Dev. 13, 380-388 (2011)
  10. 10.Murata, Y., Tamura, M., Aita, Y., Murakami, Y., Fujimura, K., Okabe, M., Okada, N., Tanaka, M.* Allometric growth of the trunk leads to the rostral shift of the pelvic fin in teleost fishes. Dev. Biol. 347, 236-245 (2010)
  11. 11.Kokubo N., Matsuura, M., Onimaru, K., Ticke, E., Kuraku, S., Kuratani, S., Tanaka, M.* Mechanisms of heart development in the Japanese lamprey, Lethenteron japonicum. Evol. Dev. 12, 34-44 (2010)
  12. 12.Sakamoto, K., Onimaru, K., Munakata, K., Suda, N., Tamura, M., Ochi, H., Tanaka, M.* Heterochronic shift in Hox-mediated activation of Sonic hedgehog leads to morphological changes during vertebrate fin evolution. PLoS ONE 4, e5121(2009)
  13. 13.Matsuura, M., Nishihara, H., Onimaru, K., Kokubo, N., Kuraku, S., Kusakabe, R., Okada, N., Kuratani S., Tanaka, M.* Identification of four Engrailed genes in the Japanese lamprey, Lethenteron japonicum. Dev. Dyn. 237, 1581-1589 (2008)
  14. 14.Davey, M. G., Paton, I. R., Morrice, D. R., Yin, Y., Schmidt, M., Buxton, P., Stamataki, D., Tanaka, M., Munsterberg, A. E., Briscoe, J., Tickle, C., Burt, D. W. The Chicken talpid3 gene encodes a novel protein essential for hedgehog signaling. Genes & Dev. 20, 1365-1377 (2006)
  15. 15.Tanaka, M., Hale, L. A., Amores, A., Yan, Y.-L., Cresko, W. A., Suzuki, T., Postlethwait, J. H. Developmental genetic basis for the evolution of pelvic fin loss in the pufferfish Takifugu rubripes. Dev. Biol. 281, 227-239 (2005)
  16. 16.Tanaka, M.*, Tickle, C. Tbx18 and boundary formation in chick somite and wing development. Dev. Biol. 268, 470-480 (2004)
  17. 17.Cole, N., Tanaka, M., Prescott, A. R., Tickle, C. Expression of limb initiation gene and clues to the basis of morphological diversification of three-spine sticklebacks. Curr. Biol. 13, R951-R952 (2003)
  18. 18.Tanaka, M.*, Munsterberg, A., Anderson, W. G., Prescott, A. R., Hazon, N., Tickle, C. Fin development in a cartilaginous fish and the origin of vertebrate limbs. Nature 416, 527-531(2002)
  19. 19.Schmidt, M., Tanaka, M., Munsterberg, A. Expression of β-catenin in the developing chick myotome is regulated by myogenic signals. Development 127, 4105-4113 (2000)
  20. 20.Tanaka, M.*, Cohn, M. J., Ashby, P., Davey, M., Martin, P., Tickle, C. Distribution of polarizing activity and potential for limb formation in mouse and chick embryos and possible relationship to polydactyly. Development 127, 4011-4021 (2000)
  21. 21.Yamamoto, M., Gotoh, Y., Tamura, K., Tanaka, M., Kawakami, A., Ide, H., Kuroiwa, A. Coordinated expression of Hoxa-11 and Hoxa-13 during limb muscle patterning. Development 125, 1325-1335 (1998)
  22. 22.Tanaka, M., Tamura, K., Noji, S., Nohno, T., Ide, H. Induction of additional limb at the dorsal-ventral boundary of a chick embryo. Dev. Biol. 182, 191-203 (1997)
  23. 23.Tanaka, M., Tamura, K., Ide, H. Citral, an inhibitor of retinoic acid synthesis, modifies chick limb development. Dev. Biol. 175, 239-247 (1996)


Professor Mikiko Tanaka
Room 715, B1 building, Suzukakedai campus
E-mail :

*Find more about the lab and the latest activities at the lab siteouter.

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