Labs and Faculty
Core Laboratories
Laboratory of Molecular Medicine

MATSUMOTO Naoki Assoc. Prof. Ph.D.


Immunology of Innate Immune cells


Major histocompatibility complex


The body of multicellular organisms, like us, is protected from invading pathogens by immune system. Principle of the immune system lies in discrimination of self and non-self. I investigate the mechanism by which innate immune cells distinguish self from non-self. Students who are interested in Immunology and/or cellular recognition are welcomed.


Here, I would like to briefly introduce my research career.
@Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, the University of Tokyo
I started my research career as a grad student in Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, the University of Tokyo. My study in grad school focused on intracellular signal transduction during activation of lymphocytes. I identified a protein that is phosphorylated in T lymphocytes activated by Concanavalin A. I purified the protein, determined partial amino acid sequences of the protein, and cloned the cDNA encoding the protein. The identified is a protein, named LSP11~3.
@Institute of Medical Sciences, the University of Tokyo (IMSUT)
After getting PhD, I joined Department of Parasitology in IMSUT, which was organized by Pr. Some KOJIMA. Upon infection with helminth, which is a general name for multicellular parasites, infected individuals develop Th2-type immune response characterized by increase of serum IgE concentration and number of eosinophils. I studied how and why helminth infection causes strong Th2-type immune response, focusing on helminth antigens.
@Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
I took a leave of absence from IMSUT and had an opportunity to study in Wayne M. Yokoyama laboratory in Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Professor Yokoyama found that a NK cell receptor Ly49 recognizes MHC class I molecules on target cells, which inhibits NK cell killing of the target cells. Ly49 has a structure similar to C-type lectin, a family of proteins that bind glycans and involvement of glycans on MHC class I molecules in Ly49 recognition of MHC class I was one of the topics. I showed that Ly49 recognizes MHC class I molecules, independent of glycans on MHC class I4.
@Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, the University of Tokyo (GSFS)
After coming back from the US, I got a faculty position in GSFS and continued to study the Ly49 project. Together with three grad students, we identified the region of a MHC class I molecule recognized by Ly495,6 and the region of the HLA-E molecule recognized by human NK cell receptor CD94/NKG27, and created short circular peptides that inhibit Ly49 – MHC class I interaction and induce killing of MHC class I-expressing target cells, potential anti-tumor drugs8. We also found that KLRG1, an inhibitory receptor on NK cells and T cells, recognizes three classical cadherins and inhibit NK cell killing of E-cadherin-expressing tumor cells9. The NK cells receptors, such as Ly49, CD94/NKG2, and KLRG1, have structure similar to C-type lectins and are encoded in a genomic region called NK-gene complex. Progress of genome research revealed that gene for many C-type lectin receptors expressed on myeloid cells also make clusters in adjacent to the NK-gene complex, which prompted us to study the C-type lectin receptors on myeloid cells. We established monoclonal antibodies that specifically recognize each of the receptors and identified the cell populations that express each of the receptors10-13. We also found that one of the receptors, DCIR2, recognizes N-glycans with a unique bisecting GlcNAc structure14.
1) J. Biochem. 113: 630, 2) J. Biochem.117: 222, 3) J. Biochem. 118: 237, 4) Immunity 8: 245, 5) J. Exp. Med. 193: 147, 6) Int. Immunol. 16: 197, 7) Eur. J. Immunol. 34: 81, 8) Int. Immunol. 16: 385, 9) J. Exp. Med. 203: 289, 10) Biochem Biophys Res. Com. 467: 383, 11) Biochem Biophys Res Com. 480: 215, 12) Biochem Biophys Res Com. 494:440, 13) Biochem Biophys Rep 24: 100840, 14) J Biol Chem. 288:33598

  • Region of MHC class I recognized by a NK cell receptor Ly49.

  • DCIR2 recognition of a N-glycan with a bisecting GlcNAc moiety.


1999 - Present Associate Professor, Laboratory of Molecular Medicine, Department of Integrated Biosciences, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, The University of Tokyo
1995 - 1998 Postdoctoral fellow, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
1991 - 1999 Research Associate, Institute of Medical Sciences, The University of Tokyo
1991 Ph. D. Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo
1988 M. Sc. Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo
1986 B. Sc. Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo