Laboratory of Molecular Recognition
Survival strategies are expanded according to various environmental conditions. There has no obvious clue how such various environmental cues inform the animals to maintain their lives and their species. Hormones and bioactive factors are the crucial compounds which can mediate to transfer the information from environments. Eventually, hormones and bioactive factors modulate cell differentiation, growth, and many biological and physiological processes.
Our laboratory focuses on these hormones and bioactive factors including peptidyl factors and steroid hormones to understand the regulatory mechanisms of maintenance of homeostasis and life.
(1) Nutrient-dependent feeding behavior in insects
As observed in omnivorous insects, nutritionally appropriate diets must be ingested to meet required nutrients. We are investigating such nutrient selective behavior using an omnivorous insect, the two-spotted cricket.
(2) Sterol-requirement in arthropods
Arthropods including insects cannot biosynthesize cholesterol de novo although they need it for their growth and development. We focus on the metabolisms of dietary sterols in herbivorous, carnivorous, and omnivorous insects.
(3) Morphological and behavioral changes according to environments
Crickets show different body-color and behaviors according to their living environments and populations. We are investigating the regulatory mechanisms of behavioral and morphological changes under different rearing conditions.
(4) Endocrine control mechanism of insect molting and metamorphosis
Insects show precisely timed molting and metamorphosis by endocrine control. We focus on the crucial factors and related genes to the dynamic event in insect life cycle.
(5) Regulatory mechanisms of insect diapause
Insects have the rigid machinery to rest against uncomfortable seasons. The initiation and termination of diapause are regulated by endocrine control. We focus on the hormonal regulation accompanied by structural modification of sterol hormones.