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Environmental Physiology

  • account_circleKentaro TamuraPhD, Assoc. Prof.
  • account_circleShin-ichiro KarakiPhD, Research Asst. Prof.
Plant and animal physiology in response to environmental signals.
We are interested in understating the growth, development, physiology and evolution of plants depends on knowing how cellular organelles are differentiated. Plants, being sessile, have evolved distinct mechanisms to sense adverse environmental conditions and initiate responses. To understand such sophisticated cellular activities, we are investigating nuclear dynamics that allows flexible gene regulation in response to environmental and developmental signals.
1. Environmental adaptation with the nucleocytoplasmic transport system

Nuclear pore complex (NPC) is the sole gateway between the nucleus and cytoplasm. The NPC is large multi-protein complex that consists of multiple copies of more than 30 nucleoporins (Nups). We have revealed plant NPC structure by using proteomic and imaging techniques.

2. Structural determinations of plant nucleus

The nuclear lamina, which is attached to the inner nuclear membrane and chromatin, provides mechanical support to the nucleus. Plants have developed a unique lamina-like structure that shapes the nuclear envelope. Although several studies have suggested candidates of component proteins of the plant nuclear lamina, none have been investigated directly. To reveal the regulatory mechanisms underlying plant nuclear structure, we have screened and isolated many Arabidopsis mutants that show abnormal nuclear shape. Characterisation of responsible genes for the mutants will get insight on how plant develops and differentiates its nucleus.

3. Sensing of intestinal luminal environment and regulation of intestinal physiological functions

Lumen of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is external environment controlled by the living body. We are studying the sensing mechanism of the GI luminal environment as an external environment, and the regulatory mechanism of the GI physiological functions including GI motility, transepithelial substance transport, and mucosal barrier function, by the enteric nervous-endocrine-immune system.

Figure 1
Nucleoporin 136 and 82 function redundantly in plant development
Figure 2
External environment in the body – Gastrointestinal (GI) luminal environment
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  8. Cell Tissue Res. 324, 353-360 (2006)