Professor Akira Kurosaka

Area and Subject Taught Cell Biology
Research Theme(s) Functional Analysis of Glycosyltransferases in Neural Differentiation
Academic Degrees Doctor of Pharmacology, Kyoto University
Keywords for Research Field Neural Differentiation, Sugar Chains, Glycosyltransferases
Office Phone Number Not Public

Research Overview

The genome sequences of several important organisms have been determined, but functions of proteins encoded by the genome still remain to be elucidated. Polypeptide chains synthesized using the information of the genome sequences, in general, become functional proteins after having a range of posttranslational modifications, such as glycosylation. We have successfully cloned a brainspecific glycosyltransferase (Figure), which catalyzes the initial reaction of mucin-carbohydrate biosynthesis by transferring N-acethylgalactosamine to a hydroxyl amino acid in polypeptides. We have also found that the brain-specific isozyme is important for the development of neurons since its suppression gives rise to morphological abnormality and apoptotic cell death in the brain of zebrafish. It should be noted that this isozyme is found in the critical region of Williams-Beuren syndrome, an inheritable disease, which is characterized by metal retardation.

Notable Publications and Works in the Last Three Years

  1. Y. Nakayama, A. Wada, R. Inoue, K. Terasawa, I. Kimura, N. Nakamura, A. Kurosaka: A rapid and efficient method for neuronal induction of the P19 embryonic carcinoma cell line. (2014) J. Neurosci. Meth. 227, 100-106
  2. M. Ogawa, N. Nakamura, Y. Nakayama, A. Kurosaka, H. Manya, M. Kanagawa, T. Endo, K. Furukawa, T. Okajima: GTDC2 modifies O-mannosylated α-dystroglycan in the endoplasmic reticulum to generate N-acetylglucosamine epitopes reactive with CTD110.6 antibody. (2013) Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 440(1), 88-93
  3. Y. Nakayama, N. Nakamura, D. Tsuji, K. Itoh, and A. Kurosaka Genetic diseases associated with protein glycosylation disorders in mammals. Genetic Diseases (2013) Maria Puiu (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-51-08866-3, InTech, 244-269
  4. Y. Nakayama, N. Nakamura, S. Oki, M. Wakabayashi, Y. Ishihama, A. Miyake, N. Itoh, and A. Kurosaka A putative polypeptide N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase/Williams-Beuren syndrome chromosome region 17 (WBSCR17) regulates lamellipodium formation and macropinocytosis. J. Biol. Chem. (2012) 287, 32222-32235