Plant Biology

Our scientific interests are centered around how plant cells acquire specialized functions and how they cooperatively regulate plant growth and life cycle. We are working to address these problems using molecular genetics, live imaging techniques, and computational tools. Our research is important not only to solve fundamental questions in basic biology, but also to gain the knowledge required for food and energy security.

Topics

  1. How root growth is regulated by endogenous and external cues
  2. How metabolic and developmental pathways cooperate to optimize plant-microbe interaction
  3. How germ cell morphologies and functions are established in plants
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A variety of initiatives are underway to build a sustainable society. In this context, expectations for the improvement of productivity and effective utilization of plant-derived biomass, such as wood, have been increasing. In the Laboratory of Plant Metabolic Control, we are mainly interested in the mechanisms, physical properties, and mechanical properties of woody biomass production control and their practical applications to plants and structural buildings.

Topics

  1. Molecular mechanisms governing xylem cell differentiation
  2. Mechanism of plant mechanical optimization system
  3. Molecular mechanism of the endomembrane trafficking underlying plant cell wall formation.
VND7 acts as a key regulator of xylem vessel differentiation. Our lab has established the xylem vessel cell differentiation system by the activation of VND7 function in plant cells.

Plant Growth Regulation

Masaaki Umeda

Prof.Umeda
Plants continuously grow under fluctuating environments and produce organs throughout their life. We aim to understand the mechanisms that control organ size and stress response, and to develop novel technologies for increasing plant biomass, thereby contributing to increasing carbon dioxide absorption and solving food and environmental problems.

Topics

  1. Mechanisms for induction of DNA polyploidization
  2. Plant growth regulation in response to abiotic stress
  3. Maintenance of plant stem cells
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Making Nara Institute of Science and Technology the center of flower development research in Japan!
The grains and fruits that we eat every day are all the products of flowers. Let's cherish the spirit of feeling the wonder of nature, and together, let's send out into the world the most interesting and useful results of flower research.

Topics

  1. Proliferation, differentiation and senescence of floral stem cells
  2. Environmental response, memory and forgetting in plants
  3. Epigenetic regulation in sexual reproduction
Arabidopsis flower development
In flower development, the stem cell activities in the floral meristem are terminated (determinate), while the shoot apical meristem continues to grow.

Plant Physiology

Motomu Endo

Prof.Endo
Do you know how plants measure time and seasons? Would you like to know?
In addition to understanding how plants measure time and seasons, you will also discover how they use such information to thrive.

Topics

  1. Dissection of circadian clock functions on an organ, tissue and cellular level
  2. Understanding and control of photoperiodic flowering via the circadian clock
  3. New technologies for high spatiotemporal analysis
Tissue-specific environmental responses through cell-type specific clocks. We have found that circadian clock functionality in specific tissues is required for specific physiological responses.

Plant Immunity

Yusuke Saijo

Prof.Saijo
Plants need to protect themselves from pathogens while adapting to various environments with the help of symbiotic bacteria. We will elucidate the plant immune system that makes this possible and the infection strategies of microorganisms that led to the evolution of this system. We will also link our research results to the promotion of environmentally-friendly agriculture.

Topics

  1. Danger sensing and signaling in plant immunity
  2. Signal integration between biotic and abiotic stress responses
  3. Beneficial and pathogenic microbes in plants
  4. Plant-associated microbiomes
Host-microbe-environment interactions provide a critical basis for host survival and health, and represent key questions in life sciences. We aim to better understand the underlying molecular principles and mechanisms in plants.

Plant Symbiosis

Satoko Yoshida

Prof.Yoshida Satoko
Parasitic plants cause significant agricultural damage in several parts of the world. We aim to reduce agricultural damage caused by parasitic plants by elucidating the molecular mechanisms of parasitism via genetic studies using model parasitic plants and cell biological research methods. We also study the interactions of plants with other disease organisms and symbiotic microorganisms. We welcome people who want to study the mysteries of living things.

Topics

  1. Identification of genes involved in haustorium formation
  2. Plant-plant communication via small-molecular weight compounds
  3. Comparative genomics of parasitic plants
Sorghum field infested by Striga spp. (pink flowers) in Sudan.
What are the mechanisms by which plants produce various metabolites? We are conducting research to identify the genes involved in the diversity of plant secondary metabolites widely distributed in nature and to elucidate their functions.

Topics

  1. Functional genomics approach by omics-based translational analysis
  2. Cross species comparison of the neo-functionalized genomic region
  3. Regulation of metabolic networks during nutritional stresses
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Why can plants readily regenerate their bodies upon injury? We pursue the secrets of plants’ regenerative capacity using molecular genetics, live imaging and single cell transcriptome analyses. If you are passionate about developmental biology and like new challenges, we are here for you!

Topics

  1. Mechanisms of tissue repair and grafting
  2. Developmental mechanisms underlying shoot regeneration
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