In order to explore the preservation of many factors and mechanisms discovered in C. elegans researches, we identify homologs (analogous genes) of the related genes for them in mammals, and studies their functions using various cultured cells. For the genes with special interests, we also generates and analyzes the phenotypes of knockout mice.
Although mammals share basic gene functions with nematodes, mammals possess
more complicated body systems. We are researching the abnormalities or
phenotypes appear in each organ and tissue to know the significance of
the target gene in mammals.
In the research on mammalian gametes, we started projects combining mainly genetically modified mice, imaging technologies, and cellular biology. Eggs and sperm are highly specialized cells with unique cellular structures and organelles, and these structures and organelles are now known to change very dynamically at fertilization. However, many unclear points remain in the relationship between these changes above with the quality of fertilized eggs (embryo), the effects of aging, diseases, and metabolic disorders.
Our present main focuses are cellular uptake of proteins, intracellular/
outer membrane dynamics, organelle dynamics and status changes during/after
fertilization. We are now promoting approaches to understand the biology
of the mammalian fertilization and the gamete quality by developing imaging
systems for quantify these topics.