Research areaCell and Developmental Biology
BSc: University of Tokyo
MSc: University of Tokyo
PhD: Kobe University/RIKEN
Postdoc: University of Oregon (HFSP fellow)
Our life starts from a single-cell, fertilized egg, that divides to form 37.2 trillion cells consisting of our body. In the course of cell proliferation, timing and angle of cell division need to be orchestrated to shape tissues and organs. Although failures in the spatial-temporal cell division regulation are associated with various diseases such as cancer, microcephaly, and leukemia, our knowledge of the mechanism of cell division control is limited. Especially, how individual cell interprets environmental information and specifies cell division dynamics (cell cycle phase to change timing and force generation by motor proteins to change angle) are largely unknown in multicellular systems due to their complexity.
To tackle this question, our lab studies multicellular division mechanisms using simple multicellular model C. elegans embryos. C. elegans has only 959 somatic cells yet is complex enough to develop different tissues and organs. Remarkably, they have invariant cell division dynamics among individuals, thereby allowing quantitative and single-cell level analysis of multicellular division. By taking advantage of its genetic and physical manipulatability, we will perform live-imaging, quantitative analysis, genetics, and in vitro reconstitution of simplified multicellular tissues, to investigate the following points that are critical to understand the mechanism of multicellular division.
- Causal relationships between environmental cue and cell division outcomes
- Molecular and physical mechanisms underlying the context-dependent control of cell division
- Cell division coordination that orchestrates embryogenesis and organogenesis
We will also extend our research to investigate mouse embryos to confirm our findings made in nematode and explore unified mechanisms that rule animal cell division.