Laboratories and faculty


Outline of Research and Education

To contribute to society through biotechnology, we are developing basic technologies for high production of useful proteins in plants and are revealing mechanisms of plant phenotype controls, by understanding the mechanism of gene expression regulation (Fig. 1).

We provide guidance so that the students assigned to the laboratory can understand the research logically and broaden and develop the base of knowledge. In addition to regular laboratory meetings, we invite researchers and practitioners from industry to introduce the knowledge necessary for research and development in companies. Through these guidance, we aim to develop human resources who can play an active role in a low-growth, global society.

Major Research Topics

Isolation and improvement of elements involved in high expression of transgene

Gene expression is controlled by several processes such as transcription, post-transcription, and translation. In order to efficiently express the introduced useful genes in plants, it is necessary to optimize each process. Therefore, we are analyzing sequences related to the efficiency of control processes such as core promoter, terminator, splicing site, 5'UTR and 3'UTR. Through these analyzes, we are isolating and improving the sequence elements involved in high expression. We also aim to provide the results to various companies to produce useful proteins such as vaccine proteins and growth hormones in plants (Fig. 2)

Sequence optimization of expression system

The efficiency of various control processes is determined by the sequence. Therefore, elucidation of the relationship between efficiency and sequence makes it possible to design a completely new sequence with excellent efficiency (Fig. 3). So far, we have succeeded in dramatically improving the mRNA translation efficiency by optimization of the 5'UTR sequence. Our current goal is optimization of the entire sequence of expression systems to maximize the efficiency of any control process.

Revealing the mechanisms of phenotype controls by gene expressions

Gene expressions directly affect to phenotypes of the individual. In this study, we are focusing on traits related to the plant fitness, such as flowering time. Based on the whole-genome sequences and gene expressions we are trying to detect the responsible genes for the traits (Fig. 4). Aiming at revealing the relationships between the genotypes and growth environments, we analyze the qualities and quantities of the detected genes. These findings would contribute to understanding the mechanisms of plant fitness controls and development of the agricultural industry in the future.

Fig. 1
Fig.1 Plant biotechnology
Fig. 2
Fig.2 Flow of gene expression
In order to optimize each step of gene expression, we are analyzing each regulatory process in detail.
Fig. 3
Fig.2 Optimization of expression system: We are elucidating the determinants of efficiency of control processes, and are optimizing the sequence of gene expression systems.
Fig. 4
Fig.4 Genome-wide association analysis
Analyzing genome-wide genotype data and phenotype data of accessions enables estimation of genome regions associated to target traits.


  1. Ueno D. et al., BMC Bioinform., 22, 380, 2021
  2. Matsui T. et al., Plant Biotechnol., 38, 239-246, 2021
  3. Ueno D. et al., Plant Cell Physiol., 62, 143-155, 2021
  4. Ueno D. et al., Plant Cell Physiol., 61, 53-63, 2020
  5. Shah N. et al., Nat. Commun., 11, 253, 2020
  6. Yamasaki S. et al., Plant Biotechnol., 35, 365-373, 2018
  7. Ueno D. et al., J. Biosci. Bioeng., 125, 723-728, 2018