Professor Ken-ichi Sato

Area and Subject Taught Cell Signaling and Development
Research Theme(s) Biological function of gametes, early embryos, and cancer cells
Academic Degrees Ph. D. (Science) Kobe University
Keywords for Research Field Fertilization, Cancer, Signal Transduction
Office Phone Number 81-75-705-2916

Research Overview

Stemming from our interest in the process whereby living organisms are born, grow, and die, we are engaged in research on two specific themes. One is research into fertilization and early development, using the African clawed frog as a model organism. We have discovered that the action of the protein-tyrosine kinase Src, which is present in oocytes/eggs, is important for successful fertilization. Currently, our research is focused on structure and function of oocyte/egg membrane microdomains, with the aim of elucidating which molecules are active during the binding and fusion of sperm and egg, and the nature of the relationships between these microdomain-associated molecules and Src. Our other theme concerns the use of cell cultures for research on the biological function of human cancer. Cancer cells possess a number of specific cellular functions that are not present in normal cells, which are believed to enable their uncontrollable proliferation as well as invasion and metastasis. From experiments on human squamouscell cancer and bladder cancer, we have discovered that Src is vital to a specialized function called apoptosis resistance. At present we are interested in how cancer cells sense changes in their internal and external environments and the mechanism whereby they express apoptosis resistance via Src; here too we are focusing on the analysis of the actions of cell membrane microdomain components. Our research is motivated by our interest in the fact that the same Src molecules are involved in cell functions in very different ways in different cells within the organism but in a similar cellular coutext.

Notable Publications and Works in the Last Three Years

  • Sato K (2018) In Reproductive and Developmental Strategies, Springer, in press
  • Tokmakov AA et al. (2018) J. Reprod. Dev. 64, 1-6.
  • Tokmakov AA et al. (2017) RNA Biol. 14, 339-346.
  • Tokmakov AA et al. (2016) Int. J. Mol. Sci. 60, 289-296.