Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

Prof. Chisa Shukunami

【Research Keyword】
tendon, ligament, cartilage, bone, teeth, dental pulp stem cells, periodontal ligament, synovial joint, differentiation, regeneration, clock genes, Tenomodulin, Chondromodulin-1, Scleraxis, Sox9, DEC1, DEC2

【Recent highlights】
We have characterized the progenitor population involved in the establishment of the junction between cartilage and tendon/ligament. We have also found the molecular clock system that regulates energy metabolism.

Profiles of Faculty and Research Scholars

Our department provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the basic principles of biochemistry and molecular biology.

We are aiming at the elucidation of the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the formation and regeneration of cartilage, bone, teeth, tendon, and ligament. We are also investigating the roles of a clock protein, DEC, in metabolic regulation.
We are currently involved in the following research projects:

  1. Molecular mechanisms of tendon/ligament formation.
  2. Molecular mechanisms of endochondral bone formation.
  3. Molecular mechanisms regulating the formation and maintenance of periodontal ligaments.
  4. Molecular mechanisms regulating differentiation of dental pulp stem cells.
  5. Research on the metabolic regulation by a clock protein, DEC.

【Photo explanation】
Contribution of Sox9+ progenitors to axial tendon and ligament formation. A transverse section of a Sox9Cre/+;Ai14;ScxGFP embryo at E14.5 is shown. Cells of the Sox9+ lineage were detected by tdTomato reporter expression (red) and Scx+ cells were detected with anti-GFP antibody (green). Scx+ cells of the Sox9+ lineage (yellow) are distributed in and around the junction between cartilage and tendon/ligament.