Ecological Developmental Adaptability Life Sciences :
Biodiversity Dynamics


Professor KUMANO Gaku
Campus Asamushi campus
Laboratory Marine Biodiversity
Tel +81-17-752-3390
E-mail gaku.kumano.d6@tohoku.ac.jp
Website http://www.biology.tohoku.ac.jp/lab-www/asamushi/kumano_lab/
1998 Completed Doctor of Bioscience, Graduate School of Life Science, Tokyo Institute of Technology
1998-2002 Post-doctoral Research Fellow at UC Santa Barbara
2002-2003 Assistant Research Biologist at UC Santa Barbara
2003-2013 Assistant Professor, Department of Life Science, Graduate School of Science, Osaka University
2013- Professor, Asamushi Research Center for Marine Biology, Graduate School of Life Sciences, Tohoku University
2014- Director, Asamushi Research Center for Marine Biology, Graduate School of Life Sciences, Tohoku University
Selected Publications
  • Kumano, G., Negoro, N. and Nishida, H. (2014). Transcription factor Tbx6 plays a central role in fate determination between mesenchyme and muscle in embryos of the ascidian, Halocynthia roretzi. Dev. Growth and Differ. 56, 310-322.
  • Kumano, G., Takatori, N., Negishi, T., Takada, T. and Nishida, H. (2011). A maternal factor unique to ascidians silences the germline via binding to P-TEFb and RNAP II regulation. Curr. Biol. 21, 1308-1313.
  • Hashimoto, H,. Enomoto, T., Kumano, G. and Nishida, H. (2011). The transcription factor FoxB mediates temporal loss of cellular competence for notochord induction in ascidian embryos. Development 138, 2591-2600.
  • Kumano, G. and Nishida, H. (2009). Patterning of an ascidian embryo along the anterior-posterior axis through spatial regulation of competence and induction ability by maternally localized PEM. Dev. Biol. 331, 78-88.
  • Miyazaki, Y., Nishida, H. and Kumano, G. (2007). Brain induction in ascidian embryos is dependent on juxtaposition of FGF9/16/20-producing and –receiving cells. Dev. Genes Evol. 217, 177-188.
  • Kumano, G., Yamaguchi, S. and Nishida, H. (2006). Overlapping expression of FoxA and Zic confers responsiveness to FGF signaling to specify notochord in ascidian embryos. Dev. Biol. 300, 770-784.
  • Kumano, G. and Smith, W. C. (2002). Revisions to the Xenopus gastrula fate map: implications for mesoderm induction and patterning. Dev. Dyn. 225, 409-421.<
  • Kumano, G. and Smith, W. C. (2000). FGF signaling restricts the primary blood islands to ventral mesoderm. Dev. Biol. 228, 304-314.
  • Kumano, G., Belluzzi, L. and Smith, W. C. (1999). Spatial and temporal properties of ventral blood island induction in Xenopus laevis. Development 126, 5327-5337.
Activities in Academic Societies

Japanese Society of Developmental Biologists; International Society of Developmental Biologist; The Zoology Society of Japan.


Advanced Lecture on Marine Biology, Advanced Lecture on Developmental Biology

Recent Activities

Germline segregation:

Cells in the germline are totipotent and immortal across generations, distinguishing their existence from other cell types such as somatic cells. Interestingly, germline cells are often segregated from somatic cells during early embryogenesis in many animals. We are investigating mechanisms by which germline cells are segregated from somatic cells and acquire their characteristic features during early embryogenesis using marine invertebrates such as ascidian and larvacean embryos. We are specifically focusing on localized maternal factors that are successively inherited by the germline cells in the cleaving embryo, and on their functions in germline development. We have found that one such maternal factor PEM, which is present only in the ascidian genome, represses germline gene expression. The germline silencing is observed in many animals and is generally thought to prevent germline development from getting compromised by somatic programs that are initiated by gene expression. We are currently investigating how it was possible that essential developmental events such as germline silencing are controlled by evolutionary new genes like PEM, and how other localized maternal factors in ascidian contribute to germline segregation.

Tail shaping:

In the ascidian neurula embryo, as the first morphological sign of the tail formation, the boundary between the trunk and tail regions can be recognized morphologically as a bending of the epithelial layer, which we call “KUBIRE” (a Japanese word for “small waist”). After “KUBIRE” formation, the posterior tail section elongates significantly and eventually reaches lengths four to five fold that of the trunk. Although ascidians belong to the phylum Chordata as we humans do, the methods of making the tail in ascidians is quite different from that occurring in other chordates such as vertebrates and amphioxus in that they produce cell populations called the tailbud at the tip of the neurula embryo and which grows posteriorly. Therefore, we reasoned that there might be new principles for tissue shaping involved in unusual ways of making a tail such as that observed in the ascidian embryo. We are currently investigating how and under what molecular basis individual cells behave, how such cell behavior contributes to “KUBIRE” formation, and how the position of “KUBIRE” is determined along the anterior-posterior axis of the embryo.

Message to Students

Marine invertebrates possess possibly thousands of phenomena and developmental mechanisms that are still unknown to us. Only you can reveal to the world these fascinating phenomena and mechanisms with your interests and ideas. Come enjoy the process of solving unknowns with us using the variety of research techniques available here.