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Division of Signal Responses


Response to Environmental Materials

Research Member

Professor : Hiromasa Imaishi
Associate Professor : Kenichi Morigaki
Associate Professor : Hideyuki Inui

General direction

We are surrounded by diverse types of life in the environment. Human body has also evolved to sustain its life by organizing cooperative functions of organs. Our research is concerned with the biological functions that enable the cooperation in and between human body and the environment, especially focusing on the human metabolism and plant uptake of xenobiotics. To assess the safety of the chemicals and to clean the environment, we apply molecular biological techniques, micro-fabrication and sensing techniques, and transgenic plants.

Hiromasa Imaishi (Professor)

The human is exposed to the environmental substances such as agrochemical, medical, and industrial chemical every day. Some chemical substances have a risk of impairing human health. From a viewpoint of safety evaluation of environmental substances, we have been studying the metabolism of chemicals in human body. It is well known that drug-metabolizing enzymes play an important role in the detoxification and activation of foreign substances. Cytochrome P450 monooxygenases are the most important enzymes for the metabolism of chemicals in an organism. Our research is focusing on the production of toxic chemicals in human body by cytochrome P450. Furthermore, we are also trying to establish biosynthesis systems for the production of useful chemicals from conventional chemicals by using cytochrome P450 monooxygenases.

Kenichi Morigaki (Associate professor)

Biological membranes act as an interface between cells and the surrounding environment. They are related with important functions such as signal transduction and immunological responses. Therefore, it is important to understand and manipulate their functions for various biomedical applications, including drug development and diagnostics. We are developing an artificial model system for biological membranes on solid substrates to mimick and evaluate the functions of the biological membrane. To this end, micropatterned lipid membranes composed of polymerized and fluid lipid bilayers are generated by the lithographic photopolymerization of a diacetylene-containing phospholipid. We aim at generating robust model systems that can reproduce the functions of membrane proteins, including cytochrome P450.

Hideyuki Inui (Associate professor)

Environmental contaminants including dioxins and dioxin-like compounds, endocrine disruptors, and pesticide residues are widely distributed into the environment by our social activities and have adverse effects to ecosystem and the human by their bioaccumulation via the food chain. Development of new technologies on remediation and monitoring of them is important for maintenance of safety in food supply. Animals have metabolism (enzymes) and perception (receptors) abilities toward exogenous compounds. In contrast, plants have absorption and accumulation toward low concentrations of compounds via their root systems. We have developed integrated remediation and monitoring (bioassay) systems with these features of animals and plants. The transgenic plants with drug-metabolizing enzymes and receptors succeeded to remediate and monitor environmental contaminants, respectively. Researches on absorption and accumulation mechanisms of environmental contaminants in plants and utilization of antibodies for monitoring are in progress.

Regulation of Stress Responses

Research Member

Professor : Katsuhiko Sakamoto

Research Contents

Research in the Laboratory of Regulation of Stress Responses is focused on the mechanisms and functions of diapause, photoperiodism, biological clocks and heat tolerance in insects. Molecular understanding of physiological characteristics and adaptation mechanisms of insects contributes to pest control and utilization of beneficial insects.

  1. Seasonal adaptations of insects
  2. Daily rhythms of insects

Response of Environmental Genes

Research Member

Professor : Shun-ichi Nakamura


Research Contents