Life Science and Technology News
Regulation of cell and tissue shape and function
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 N.Nakamura Laboratory.
Life Science and Technology
Associate Professor Nobuhiro Nakamura
|Degree||Ph.D. 2003, Tokyo Institute of Technology|
|Areas of Research||Molecular and Cellular Biology|
|Keywords||cardiomyogenesis; zebrafish; homeostasis; intracellular signaling; ubiquitination|
|Website||Nobuhiro Nakamura Laboratory|
|October, 2013||Tokyo Tech Challenging Research Award|
My laboratory has an interest in the molecular mechanism for ensuring structural and functional integrity of tissues and cells. My specific research interests focus on the regulation of intracellular signaling, which includes gene expression, signal transduction, and post-translational modification (e.g., ubiquitination). At present, my laboratory has three main projects:
We have identified an orphan G protein-coupled receptor GPR116 which is expressed in the lung. To know the physiological role of GPR116, we generated GPR116-knockout (KO) mice. We found that GPR116 deletion causes abnormal accumulation of pulmonary surfactant in the alveoli. Pulmonary surfactant is a lipid/protein complex that covers the alveoli to increase lung compliance and decrease surface tension (thereby preventing lung collapse). We also found that GPR116 is present in the alveolar cells that produce pulmonary surfactant. Thus, we hypothesized that GPR116 may act as a "sensor" monitoring the levels of pulmonary surfactant and regulate the surfactant synthetic pathway. We are interest in a) what is the ligand of GPR116 and b) the signaling pathway to regulate surfactant homeostasis.
The heart is composed of cardiomyocytes that contain numerous myofibril in parallel alignment. This myofibril structure is critical for muscle contraction and heart development, but it is unknown about how this parallel alignment is organized and maintained. This is an important issue because several heart diseases with disorganized myofibril, such as congenital heart disease, are of uncertain cause and intractable. We have the unique mutant zebrafish (a kind of tropical fish) with disorganized myofibril and heart failure. This abnormality results from a genetic mutation into the connexin gene, which encode an ion-channel-like protein (Cx36.7). We hypothesize that Cx36.7 mediates intracellular signaling to promote myofibril formation by regulating the gene expression involved in this process. We are studying to identify a) the molecules responsible for Cx36.7-mediated signaling and b) the genes responsible for myofibril formation.
It is well known that ubiquitination, a post translational protein modification, has various important roles in protein degradation, membrane trafficking, signal transduction, cell proliferation and differentiation etc. We are interest in the ubiquitinating/deubiquitinating enzymes with transmembrane regions because they are localized specifically to certain organelles and maintain the organelle function and morphology. In past, we showed that several ubiquitinating/deubiquitinating enzymes participate in controlling intracellular transport, mitochondria morphology, protein quality control, and sperm development. We are trying to uncover the physiological functions of yet-uncharacterized enzymes.
Associate Professor Nobuhiro Nakamura
Room 720, B2 building, Suzukakedai campus
E-mail : email@example.com
*Find more about the lab and the latest activities at the lab site.