Department of Developmental Biology and Neurosciences
Division of Developmental Regulation

Germ Cell Development 分野

Yasuhisa Matsui
キャンパス Seiryo キャンパス
専攻分野 Developmental Biology
連絡先 022-717-8571

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While studying abroad in the U.S., I happened to become involved in research concerning the development of reproductive cells. Since that time, I have been obsessed with and spent my life absorbed in the research of the wondrous properties of reproductive cells, which possess the ability to produce an entire individual organism.

1983 Graduated, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science, University of Tokyo
1988 Completed Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Tokyo
1988-1992 Post-doctoral Fellow, School of Medicine, Vanderbilt University (U.S.A.)
1992-1998 Assistant and Assistant Professor, Research Institute of tuberculosis and Cancer,, Tohoku University
1998-2004 Laboratory Head, Osaka Medical Center for Maternal and Child Health
2004-present Current position

Maeda, I., Okamura, D., Tokitake, Y., Ikeda, M, Kawaguchi, H., Mise, N., Abe, K., Noce, T., Okuda, A, Matsui, Y. Max is a repressor of germ-cell-related gene expression in mouse embryonic stem cells. Nature Communications 4, 1754 (2013).

Okamura, D., Maeda, I., Taniguchi, H., Tokitake, Y., Ikeda, M., Ozato, K., Mise, N., Abe, K., Noce, T., Izpisua Belmonte, J. C. and Matsui, Y. Cell-cycle gene-specific control of transcription has a critical role in proliferation of primordial germ cells. Genes & Development 26, 2477-2482 (2012).

Okamura, D., Mochizuki, K., Taniguchi, H., Tokitake, Y., Ikeda, M., Yamada, Y., Tournier, C., Yamaguchi, S., Tada, T., Scholer, H.R. and Matsui, Y. REST and its downstream molecule Mek5 regulate survival of primordial germ cells. Developmental Biology 372, 190-202 (2012).

Mochizuki, K., Tachibana, M., Saitou, M., Tokitake, Y., and Matsui, Y. Implication of DNA demethylation and bivalent histone modification for selective gene regulation in mouse primordial germ cells. PLoS ONE 7, e46036 (2012).

Matsui, Y., and Tokitake, Y. Primordial germ cells contain subpopulations that have greater ability to develop into pluripotential stem cells. Development Growth and Differentiation 51, 657-667 (2009).


Japanese Society of Developmental Biologists
The Molecular Biology Society of Japan


Advanced Lecture on Mechanisms of Cellular Differentiation


Reproductive cells specialize from pluripotential stem cells into primordial germ cells during the initial stage of embryonic development and then further mature into sperm and eggs. Epigenetic control plays an important role in this process via the methylation of DNA and histones. What we have learned from our recent research is that the methylation of a particular histone serves to stop the specialization of pluripotential stem cells to germ cells. In addition, we have also found out that the demethylation of DNA and the methylation of histone combine, causing the expression of specific genes in response to the stage of germ cell differfentiation.


Although research is a fascinating job, good results rarely appear in line with what you expected. If things do not go well, you consider this and that, consult with the people around you, and occasionally spend days trying to solve the problem. When you finally solve the problem yourself, however, it is an extremely happy feeling, and if it leads to some new result, it is like reaching the limit of ecstasy. I would like to have many people participate in our research and experience the roller coaster-like excitement.