Major research fields
Cell biology, Neuroscience
Multicellular organisms are constructed with various types of cells and each cell has to be linked specifically to other cells or an extracellular matrix to form characteristic structures named tissues and organs. Since the specific cell-cell connection is a fundamental feature of multicellular organisms, many investigators have extensively studied the process and have identified various proteins that mediate cell-cell adhesion. Among them, cadherins are the major intercellular cell adhesion proteins that require Ca2+ for their activity. Cadherins constitute a large superfamily in which protocadherins form the largest subfamily with more than 100 members. Protocadherins are mainly located in the nervous system and have been postulated to play an important role(s) in the formation and maintenance of the nervous system, but the biological role of protocadherins is poorly understood. Our laboratory is interested in the mechanism of the formation of tissue structure in animals. We have identified various cadherins in the nervous system in our previous studies and are currently focused on the physiological role of protocadherins using zebra fishes as a model organism. We are taking two approaches to elucidate the role. One approach is the inhibition experiments of protocadherins with anti-sense morpholino oligonucleotides. This method is relatively easy to carry out and produces reliable results. The results reveal the biological function especially during the early period of development. The other approach is the characterization of the proteins that bind to the cytoplasmic domains of protocadherins. Since the function of protocadherins should be mediated by the interaction with other cytoplasmic proteins, the results would provide valuable information regarding the biological role of protocadherins in the nervous tissues as well as possibly the formation and maintenance of the neural network.
Major relevant publications
- Chisa Ozaki, Shuichi Obata, Hiroaki Yamanaka, Sachiko Tominaga, and Shintaro T. Suzuki . The extracellular domains of E- and N-cadherin determine the scattered punctate localization in epithelial cells and the cytoplasmic domains modulate the localization. J Biochem, 147(2010) 415-425.
- Kiyoto Tai, Masaki Kubota, Kohei Shiono, Hitoshi Tokutsu, and Shintaro T. Suzuki. Adhesion Properties and Retinofugal Expression of Chicken Protocadherin-19. Brain Res, 1344(2010) 13-24.
- Chisa Ozaki, Masato Yoshioka, Sachiko Tominaga, Yoshinori Osaka, Shuichi Obata, and Shintaro T. Suzuki. p120-catenin is essential for N-cadherin-mediated formation of proper junctional structure thereby the establishment of cell polarity in epithelial cells. Cell Structure and Function, 35 (2010) 81-94.