リサーチユニット総覧(Research Unit Magazine)

シグナル伝達の異常に起因した疾患 を治療する創薬開発に向けた研究
シグナル伝達と疾患リサーチユニットResearch for drug discovery to treat diseases caused by abnormal cellular signaling

キーワード: シグナル伝達、がん、アレルギー、神経疾患、腫瘍血管新生

49kanaho01 私たちの体は組織ごとに様々な種類の細胞からなり、ホルモン・成長因子・神経伝達物質などが細胞膜にある受容体に結合すると、細胞内にあるタンパク質や酵素が活性化されます。それにより細胞内で情報(シグナル)が連鎖的に伝達され、最終的に細胞機能が発現します。この細胞内で連鎖的に情報が伝達される仕組みを「シグナル伝達」と呼びます。シグナル伝達に異常が生じると、生体に病的状態が引き起こされます。最近では、環境因子で誘発される疾患にもシグナル伝達が関係していると言われています。本リサーチ・ユニットでは、異なる研究分野の研究者の有機的な連携により、シグナル伝達と病気との関わり合いを分子レベルから個体レベルで研究し、シグナル伝達に関わる分子を標的とした創薬につながる研究に挑んでいます。













  • 画期的な薬を見出すための大手製薬企業との共同研究
  • 画期的な薬を作るための基礎的研究成果の社会への発信(報道発表)
  • 国内外の学会での研究成果発表
  • 次代を担う若手研究者の育成


Research for drug discovery to treat diseases caused by abnormal cellular signaling

Unit name:Cellular Signaling and Diseases

Key words: cellular signaling, cancer, allergy, neurologic disease, tumor angiogenesis



       Each tissue in our body is composed of various types of cells. When agonists, such as hormones, growth factors, and neurotransmitters, bind to their receptors on the cell membrane, functions of proteins and activities of enzymes in the cell are modulated. The cascade modulation of signaling molecules in the cell is the key process to transduce the signaling downstream and to finally exert cell functions. This signal transduction in the cell by a cascade reaction is called “cellular signaling”. Disturbance of cellular signaling induces a wide variety of human diseases. Recently, disturbance of cellular signaling has been suggested to be also involved in diseases induced by environmental factors. This research unit investigates the association between cellular signaling and diseases at the molecular and whole organism levels through effective collaboration among researchers in different fields for drug development targeting molecules involved in cellular signaling.



Investigation of diseases by elucidating the mechanism of cellular signaling

     Tissues and organs of human body are composed of various types of cells specific to them. When these cells receive signals from outside of the cell through hormones, growth factors, and neurotransmitters, cellular signaling pathways are activated, and cell functions are exerted, resulting in the exertion of functions of tissues and organs. Therefore, we can make a healthy and good life (Fig. 1). However, disturbance of cellular signaling induces various diseases. Disturbance of cellular signaling is caused by structural and functional changes in the properties of proteins and enzymes involved in cellular signaling. Diseases due to abnormal cellular signaling include cancer, allergy, and neurologic diseases. It is necessary to clarify the molecular mechanism of cellular signaling and to investigate diseases caused by each signaling abnormality at the molecular, cellular, and whole organism levels.

Fig. 1: Research outline



Development of new drugs by clarifying cellular signaling

     When molecular mechanisms of cellular signaling and cellular signaling abnormalities inducing diseases are clarified, new drugs for these diseases can be developed. For epoch-making drug discovery, our research group has performed studies to clarify the cause of diseases with unknown causes or diseases that are markedly difficult to treat. As a disease-associated signaling system, we found a new signaling system that inhibits the transduction of signals inducing allergies such as pollinosis (Fig. 2). Development of drugs that make this signaling system active is expected to allow accurate treatment for allergies. In addition, we have clarified that disturbances of cellular signaling are associated with various diseases such as cancer and neurologic diseases.

Fig. 2: Abnormal signaling inducing allergy


Social contributions and achievements
  • Joint studies with major pharmaceutical companies to discover epoch-making drugs
  • Dissemination of the results of basic studies to the society to develop epoch-making drugs (press release)
  • Presentation of research results in scientific societies in Japan and aboard
  • Fostering of researchers who lead the next generation

Interviewed on May 7, 2014