Centers & Labs

RIKEN Brain Science Institute

Laboratory for Molecular Psychiatry

Laboratory Head: Takeo Yoshikawa (M.D., Ph.D.)
Takeo  Yoshikawa(M.D., Ph.D.)

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and adolescence/adult-onset endogenous psychoses, such as schizophrenia and mood disorders, are relatively common diseases that show a chronic course. Once these diseases develop, the patients' quality of life deteriorate substantially. This is because there are no ideal medical treatments, a reflection of the largely unknown etiology of these illnesses. Considering the immense personal and social losses induced by mental disorders, it is imperative to identify the mechanisms of the diseases, so as to develop fundamental therapies and effective prevention. Our current efforts focus on strategies that aim to identify susceptibility genetic and environmental mechanisms, by employing molecular and behavioral genetic approaches and biochemical analyses that utilize both human samples and animal models. We hope that these endeavors will lead to a better understanding of neuropsychiatric diseases at the molecular level and eventually contribute to improving the welfare of patients suffering from these disorders.

Research Subjects

  • Genetic analyses of schizophrenia, mood disorders and autism
  • Studies on animal models (transgenic and knock out mice, and environmental factors)
  • Studies using iPS cells stemmed from psychiatric patients
  • Studies of the roles of lipids in the pathophysiology of mental illnesses

Selected Publications

  1. Balan S, Iwayama Y,Maekawa M,Toyota T,Ohnishi T,Toyoshima T,Shimamoto C, Esaki K, Yamada K, Iwata Y, Suzuki K, Ide M, Ota M, Fukuchi S, Tsujii M, Mori N, Shinkai Y, and Yoshikawa T.:
    "Exon resequencing of H3K9 methyltransferase complex genes, EHMT1, EHMT2 and WIZ, in Japanese autism subject"
    Molecular Autism, 6;5(1):49(2014)
  2. Shimamoto C, Ohnishi T, Maekawa M, Watanabe A, Ohba H, Arai R, Iwayama Y, Hisano Y, Toyota T, Toyoshima M, Suzuki K, Nakamura K, Mori N, Shirayama Y, Owada Y, Kobayashi T, and Yoshikawa T.:
    "Functional characterization of FABP3, 5 and 7 gene variants identified in schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder and mouse behavioral studies."
    Hum Mol Genet, 23(24), 6495-6511 (2014)
  3. Tomioka NH, Yasuda H, Miyamoto H, Hatayama M, Morimura N, Matsumoto Y, Suzuki T, Odagawa M, Odaka YS, Iwayama Y, Won Um J, Ko J, Inoue Y, Kaneko S, Hirose S, Yamada K, Yoshikawa T, Yamakawa K, and Aruga J.:
    "Elfn1 recruits presynaptic mGluR7 in trans and its loss results in seizures."
    Nat Commun, 5, 4501 (2014)
  4. Bundo M, Toyoshima M, Okada Y, Akamatsu W, Ueda J, Nemoto-Miyauchi T, Sunaga F, Toritsuka M, Ikawa D, Kakita A, Kato M, Kasai K, Kishimoto T, Nawa H, Okano H, Yoshikawa T, Kato T, and Iwamoto K.:
    "Increased L1 Retrotransposition in the Neuronal Genome in Schizophrenia."
    Neuron, 81(2), 306-313 (2014)
  5. Takata, A., Iwayama, Y., Fuku,o Y., Ikeda, M., Okochi, T., Maekawa, M., Toyota, T., Yamada, K., Hattor,i E., Ohnishi, T., Toyoshima, M., Ujike, H,, Inada, T., Kunugi, H., Ozaki, N., Nanko, S., Nakamura, K., Mori, N., Kanba, S., Iwata, N., Kato, T., Yoshikawa, T.:
    "A population-specific uncommon GRIN3A R480G variant associated with schizophrenia"
    Biological Psychiatry 73, 532-539 (2013)
  6. Satake W, Nakabayashi Y, Mizuta I, Hirota Y, Ito C, Kubo M, Kawaguchi T, Tsunoda T, Watanabe M, Takeda A, Tomiyama H, Nakashima K, Hasegawa K, Obata F, Yoshikawa T, Kawakami H, Sakoda S, Yamamoto M, Hattori N, Murata M, Nakamura Y, and Toda T.:
    "Genome-wide association study identifies common variants at four loci as genetic risk factors for Parkinson's disease."
    Nat Genet, 41(12), 1303-7 (2009)
  7. Arai, M,, Yuzawa, H., Nohara, .I, Ohnishi, T., Obata, N., Iwayama, Y., Haga, S., Toyota, T., Ujike, H., Ichikawa, T., Tanaka, Y., Furukawa, A., Aikawa, Y., Kuroda, O., Niizato, K., Izawa, R., Nakamura, K., Mori, N., Matsuzawa, D., Hashimoto, K., Iyo, M.:
    "Enhanced carbonyl stress in a subpopulation of schizophrenia"
    Archives of General Psychiatry 67, 598-607 (2010)
  8. Watanabe, A., Toyota, T., Owada, Y., Hayashi, T., Iwayama, Y., Matsumata, M., Ishitsuka, Y., Nakaya, A., Maekawa, M., Ohnishi, T., Arai, R., Sakurai, K., Yamada, K., Kondo, H., Hashimoto, K., Osumi, N., Yoshikawa, T.:
    "Fabp7 maps to a quantitative trait locus for a schizophrenia endophenotype"
    PLoS Biology 5, e297 (2007)
  9. Yamada, K., Gerber, D.J., Iwayama, Y., Ohnishi, T., Ohba, H., Toyota, T., Aruga, J., Minabe, Y., Tonegawa, S., Yoshikawa, T.:
    "Genetic analysis of the calcineurin pathway identifies the EGR family and specifically EGR3, as potential candidates in schizophrenia"
    Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 104, 2815-2820 (2007)

Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Takeo Yoshikawa
Laboratory Head

Core Members

Tetsuo Ohnishi
Deputy Team Leader
Manabu Toyoshima
Research Scientist
Motoko Maekawa
Research Scientist
Balan Shabeesh
Research Scientist
Chie Shimamoto
Special Postdoctoral Researcher
Kayoko Esaki
Visiting Researcher
Hisako Ohba
Technical Staff I
Yasuko Hisano
Technical Staff I
Yayoi Nozaki
Technical Staff I
Yoshimi Iwayama
Technical Staff I
Akiko Watanabe
Technical Staff Ⅱ
Hitomi Oban

Contact information

2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan

Email: takeo [at]

Related links

Recent research results