Labs and Faculty
Core Laboratories
Laboratory of Molecular Recognition
  • KATAOKA HiroshiProf.

    Insect endocrinology, Insect physiology

    Molting & Metamorphosis, Diapause, Peptide hormone, Steroids

  • NAGATA ShinjiProf.

    Entomological endocrinology, Entomology, Chemical ecology

    Feeding behavior, Endocrine factors, Sterol

Research interests

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.

Research projects

(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.
  • The two-spotted cricket, Gryllus bimaculatus (the main insect in our research)

  • Electron microscopic image of cricket wing, which is important for individual recognition.

(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.
  • The silkworm, Bombyx mori in our laboratory. Larva.

  • Pupa

  • Adult

  • Group photo of our laboratory member.