Fumio Motegi

  • PI
Inst. for Genetic Medicine, Hokkaido University
Research Areas
Cell biology, Developmental biology
Cell polarity, Embryogenesis, Gametogenesis, Self-organization, Morphogenesis, Cell fate

Related Outline

Establishment of spatial asymmetry within a cell and across a group of cells is necessary for diverse physiological processes in living systems. Such cellular patterning requires self-organizing interactions of biological components, which give rise to an ordered state in tissues and organs. The Motegi group aims to understand the mechanism underlying self-organizing patterning through quantitative and holistic evaluation of how mechanical forces control the emergent properties of fate, form, and function of multicellular systems over longer timescales. With Caenorhabditis elegans as a model system, we will leverage cutting-edge technologies to investigate the magnitude and distribution of forces within cells and extracellular spaces and uncover unprecedented roles of mechano-chemical crosstalk in animal development. Through fruitful collaboration with other groups in this Transformative (A) research area, we will establish a unique model for multi-disciplinary research that harnesses expertise from biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics.


Fumio completed his Master’s study and doctoral degree at the University of Tokyo. He did his postdoctoral work with Prof. Asako Sugimoto at RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology and with Prof. Geraldine Seydoux at Johns Hopkins University. He joined Temasek Lifesciences Laboratory and Mechanobiology Institute as a Principal Investigator in 2012, and now holds a joint appointment as Assistant Professor in Department of Biological Sciences at National University of Singapore. He was appointed as Professor at Institute of Genetic Medicine, Hokkaido University in Oct 2020.

Representative Achievements

  • A balance between antagonizing PAR proteins specifies the pattern of asymmetric and symmetric cell divisions in C. elegans embryogenesis.
    Lim YW, Wen FL, Shankar P, Shibata T, Motegi F.
    Cell Reports 36: 109326 (2021).
    DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109326
  • Aurora-A breaks symmetry in contractile actomyosin networks independently of its role in centrosome maturation.
    Zhao P, Teng X, Tantirimudalige SN, Nishikawa M, Wohland T, Toyama Y, Motegi F.
    Developmental Cell 48: 631-645 (2019).
  • Establishment of the PAR-1 cortical gradient by the aPKC-PRBH circuit.
    Ramanujam R, Han Z, Zhang Z, Kanchanawong F, Motegi F (*Co-first authors).
    Nature Chemical Biology 14: 917-927 (2018).
  • ImaEdge: a platform for the quantitative analysis of cortical proteins spatiotemporal dynamics during cell polarization.
    Zhang Z, Lim YW, Zhao P, Kanchanawong P, and Fumio Motegi F (*Co-first authors).
    Journal of Cell Science 130: 4200-4212 (2017).
  • Cortical forces and CDC-42 control clustering of PAR proteins for C. elegans embryonic polarization.
    Wang SC, Low TYF, Nishimura Y, Gole L, Yu W, Motegi F.
    Nature Cell Biology 19: 988-995 (2017).
  • Microtubules induce self-organization of polarized PAR domains in Caenohrabditis elegans zygotes.
    Motegi F, Zonies S, Hao Y, Cuenca A, Griffin E, Seydoux G.
    Nature Cell Biology13: 1361-1367 (2011).
  • Cytoplasmic Partitioning of P Granule Components Is Not Required to Specify the Germline in C. elegans.
    Gallo CM, Wang JT, Motegi F, Seydoux G.
    Science 330: 1685-1689 (2010).
  • Revisiting the role of microtubules in C. elegans polarity.
    Motegi F, Seydoux G.
    J. Cell Biology 179: 367-369 (2007).
  • Sequential function of RHO-1 and CDC-42 establishes cell polarity in Caenohrabditis elegans embryos.
    Motegi F, Sugimoto A.
    Nature Cell Biology 8: 978-985 (2006).
  • Two phases of astral microtubule activity during cytokinesis in C. elegans embryos.
    Motegi F, Veralde N, Piano F, Sugimoto A.
    Developmental Cell 10: 509-520 (2006).