Yuichiro Nakajima

  • PI
Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo
Research Areas
Developmental Biology, Cell Biology,
Cellular plasticity, Tissue homeostasis, Environmental responses, Stem cells, Regeneration, Drosophila, Jellyfish

Related Outline

During the life of an organism, maintaining tissue homeostasis and responding to environmental changes are crucial mechanisms that ensure individual systems properly. Failure of these mechanisms can lead to deterioration of individual functions and various pathological conditions. Our research group aims to understand the regulatory mechanisms that enable homeostasis and environmental response, with a particular focus on “cell-to-organismal-level plasticity.” To achieve this goal, we utilize Drosophila, a model organism with sophisticated genetic tools, and small jellyfish Cladonema, which exhibit an acute response to environmental changes. We have revealed that cell plasticity and stem cell heterogeneity contribute to tissue structural maintenance, size control, and regenerative processes in various epithelial tissues. In this transformative research group, we will explore the phenomenon of “organismal-level reorganization” observed in basal metazoans, including some jellyfish, to elucidate the mechanisms of their self-organization. To tackle this problem, we will employ cross-disciplinary approaches as well as methods in developmental biology and cell biology.


Yuichiro performed PhD work with Prof. Masayuki Miura at The University of Tokyo (PhD Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2011). He then did his postdoctoral work with Dr. Matt Gibson at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in the US. He was appointed as Assistant Professor at FRIS, Tohoku University in 2016 to start his own research group and moved to The University of Tokyo as Lecturer since 2021.

Representative Achievements

  • Distinct stem-like cell populations facilitate functional regeneration of the Cladonema medusa tentacle
    Fujita S, Kuranaga E, Miura M, *Nakajima Y.
  • siRNA-mediated gene knockdown via electroporation in hydrozoan jellyfish embryos
    Masuda-Ozawa T, Fujita S, Nakamura R, Watanabe H, Kuranaga E, *Nakajima Y.
    Scientific Reports 12(1): 16049 (2022)
  • Cell proliferation controls body size growth, tentacle morphogenesis, and regeneration in hydrozoan jellyfish Cladonema pacificum
    Fujita S, Kuranaga E, and *Nakajima Y.
    PeerJ. 7: e7579 (2019)
  • Junctional tumor suppressors interact with 14-3-3 proteins to control planar spindle alignment
    *Nakajima Y, Lee ZT, McKinney SA, Swanson SK, Florens L, Gibson MC.
    Journal of Cell Biology. 218(6):1824-1838 (2019)
  • Epithelial junctions maintain tissue architecture by directing planar spindle orientation
    Nakajima Y, Meyer EJ, Kroesen A, McKinney SA and *Gibson MC.
    Nature, 500 (7462): 359-62 (2013)
  • Nonautonomous Apoptosis is Triggered by Local Cell Cycle Progression during Epithelial Replacement in Drosophila
    Nakajima Y, Kuranaga E, Sugimura K, Miyawaki A and *Miura M.
    Molecular and Cellular Biology, 31(12): 2499-2512 (2011)