Ohkawa lab.

News Release



“What Characterizes Genes on the Genome,
and What Causes Them to Express Selectively?”

The human body comprises circa 37 trillion cells of more than 200 types. These cells acquire individual functions through selective expression of genes and become part of particular tissues. The Human Genome Project ushered in methodologies toward the determination of the entire sequences on the genome and the analysis of the complete set of genes. However, the knowledge of every cell type and the exact number of genes and their positions on the genome still eludes us.



“Analysis of Entire Set of Genes in an Individual
by High-Throughput Sequencing Technologies”

The recent advances in high-throughput sequencing technologies enabled researchers to analyze gene transcripts and transcriptional regulation from a small amount of cells. We might further expect, through various expression analysis methods, to be able not only to enumerate all cell types in the human body, but also to determine the generation and differentiation mechanisms of tissue-specific cells through the expression of particular genes. In order to understand gene expression regulation, we have launched the genome-wide analysis of transcription the whole process of which is triggered by the binding of transcription factors on chromatin.



“Presence of Genes and Gene Expression Patterns
Are Dictated by Chromatin Structure”

We are currently studying forms of chromatin structure which have regulatory effects (“chromatin code”) on skeletal muscle differentiation. The chromatin code breaks down to the selection of histones in nucleosomes, histone modifications, and nucleosome positioning as well as the three-dimensional arrangement of genes. We combine multifarious methods ranging from chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) to big data analytics for comprehensive transcriptomic analysis of both chromatin coding and decoding processes.