Labs

Cell Adhesion and Tissue Patterning

Team Leader
Masatoshi Takeichi (Ph.D.)

Animal cells organize into tissues with complex architecture. Our lab is exploring the molecular mechanisms by which individual cells assemble into a tissue-specific multicellular structure, such as epithelial sheets and neural networks. We are also interested in the molecular basis of how tissue architecture is disrupted during carcinogenesis, a process that is thought to accelerate the metastasis of cancer cells. For these studies, we are focusing on the roles played by cell-cell adhesion and recognition molecules, the cadherin family of adhesion molecules in particular, as these are known to be indispensable for tissue construction. Our current studies are divided into three categories:

1) Cell-cell adhesion is a dynamic process, and this nature of cell-cell adhesion is implicated in various cell behaviors, such as contact-dependent regulation of cell movement and cancer metastasis. A growing body of evidence suggests that cadherins cooperate with cytoskeletal and/or motility machineries, such as actin regulators, non-muscle myosins, and Rho GTPases, in modulating cell assembly. We are therefore studying the molecular mechanisms underlying the crosstalk between cadherins and such cytoskeletal systems.

2) A second area of interest to our lab is to gain a better understanding of how the cell-cell adhesion machinery contributes to animal morphogenesis. Using mouse and chicken embryos, we are analyzing the roles of cadherins and associated proteins in various morphogenetic processes, including neural tube closure and neural crest migration. We are also investigating the roles of members of the cadherin superfamily known as protocadherins, deficiencies of which have been implicated in brain disorders. Through these studies, we expect to gain deeper mechanistic insights into the ways by which cells build the elaborate structures of the animal body.

3) In addition, we have recently begun analyzing the functions of microtubule minus end-associated proteins, Nezha/CAMSAPs. These proteins regulate microtubule assembly patterns, centrosomal function, and organelle positioning. We are exploring molecular mechanisms underlying such regulatory activity, as well as the roles of these molecules in cellular morphogenesis, such as polarized epithelial formation and axon growth, with the aim of uncovering novel functions of non-centrosomal microtubules.

News List
2013.10.1
New roles for microtubules in actin regulation
2012.12.3
CAMSAPs regulate microtubule dynamics in epithelial cells
2012.11.12
N-cadherin keeps cornea pumping
2012.9.19
CDB Director Masatoshi Takeichi named citation laureate
2012.5.28
Celsr1 bridges key processes in formation of neural tube
2011.10.12
EPLIN responds to force
2011.7.10
Dual role for AIR-1 in mitotic spindle assembly
2011.6.22
Willin and Par3 work together in apical constriction
2009.7.21
Fat and Daschous cadherins work at the apical membrane in cerebral cortical cells
2009.7.14
Synapses stay true: Selective neural connectivity in vitro
2008.12.9
Tracks to the junction: Microtubules tethered to zonula adherens
2008.8.6
Pairing up and settling down
2008.4.25
Shroom3 recruits ROCKs to the apical junctions
2007.12.17
A mystery of the cadherin-actin interaction resolved
2007.8.30
Protocadherin in neural pathways
2007.5.8
CDB Director Masatoshi Takeichi elected to National Academy of Sciences
2007.4.6
Cold proof: Cadherin-8 in neural circuitry and cold sensation
2007.2.19
Catenin cleft: Calpain-mediated cleavage of β-catenin in novel signaling pathway
2006.12.25
Cadherins go with the flow
2006.10.31
Keeping an eye on cadherin function in retinal synaptogenesis in vivo
2006.10.21
Tuba joins the band: A Cdc42-specific activator regulates epithelial cell-cell junctions
2006.7.29
Neurite sorting by nectins
2006.5.12
Binding to build the brain
2005.9.12
CDB Director Elected President of ISDB
2005.5.20
2b or not 2b a stem cell
2005.1.13
Masatoshi Takeichi Awarded 2005 Japan Prize
2004.12.14
France, Japan Recognize CDB Director’s Work
2004.9.13
Interview with CDB Director, Masatoshi Takeichi
2004.5.26
Fat binds the “bones” of the cytoskeleton
2004.5.12
CDB Director elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences
2004.4.15
Dendritic spine dynamics

Q:What made you want to do your current job? (or triggered your interest in science)

A:

Q:What would you ultimately like to discover through your research?

A:

Lab Homepage

takeichi[at]cdb.riken.jp

Recruit

Epithelial cell-cell junctions are delineated by actin filaments, an important regulator of cell adhesion. Caco cells were double-stained for actin (red), and ZO-1 (green), a tight junction protein. Photographed by T. Otani.
N-cadherin is a component of synapses. A cultured hippocampal neuron is double-immunostained for N-cadherin (red) and a postsynaptic protein, PSD-95 (green).
Double-immunostaining for F-actin (green) and Kusabira Orange-tagged E-cadherin (red) introduced into A431D cells. In these cells, E-cadherin dynamically moves along cortical actin filaments, resulting in the unique distributions shown here.
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