Centers & Labs

RIKEN Center for Brain Science

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 deteriorates 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.

Main Research Field

Medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy

Related Research Fields



  • Psychiatric illness
  • Molecular genetics
  • Animal model
  • iPS cell
  • Lipid

Selected Publications

  1. Ohnishi T, Balan S, Toyoshima M, Maekawa M, Ohba H, Watanabe A, Iwayama Y, Fujita Y, Tan Y, Hisano Y, Shimamoto-Mitsuyama C, Nozaki Y, Esaki K, Nagaoka A, Matsumoto J, Hino M, Mataga N, Hayashi-Takagi A, Kenji Hashimoto K, Kunii Y, Kakita A, Yabe H, Takeo Yoshikawa.:
    "Investigation of betaine as a novel psychotherapeutic for schizophrenia."
    EBioMedicine, in press.
  2. Gerstner JR, Perron IJ, Riedy SM, Yoshikawa T, Kadotani H, Owada Y, Hans P.A. Van Dongen HPA, Galante R, Dickinson J, Yin JCP, Pack AI, Frank MG.:
    "Normal sleep requires the astrocyte brain-type fatty acid binding protein FABP7"
    Science Advances, 3: e1602663 (2017)
  3. Sugiura L*, Toyota T, Matsuba-Kurita H, Iwayama Y, Mazuka R, Yoshikawa T*, Hagiwara H.:
    "Age-dependent effects of catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene Val158Met polymorphism on language function in developing children"
    Cerebral Cortex, 27, 104-116 (2016) *Co-corresponding authors
  4. Toyoshima M, Akamatsu W, Okada Y, Ohnishi T, Balan S, Hisano Y, Iwayama Y, Toyota T, Matsumoto T, Itasaka N, Sugiyama S, Tanaka M, Yano M, Dean B, Okano H, Yoshikawa T.:
    "Schizophrenia patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells exhibit changes in neurogenic and gliogenic competences"
    Translational Psychiatry 6: e934 (2016)
  5. Maekawa M, Yamada K, Toyoshima M, Ohnishi T, Iwayama Y, Shimamoto C, Toyota T, Nozaki Y, Balan S, Matsuzaki H, Iwata Y, Suzuki K, Miyashita M, Kikuchi M, Kato M, Okada Y, Akamatsu W, Mori N, Owada Y, Itokawa M, Okano H, and Yoshikawa T.:
    "Utility of scalp hair follicles as a novel source of biomarker genes for psychiatric illnesses"
    Biological Psychiatry, 78, 116-125 (2015)
  6. 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)
  7. 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)
  8. 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)
  9. 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)
  10. 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
Chie Shimamoto
Special Postdoctoral Researcher
Kayoko Esaki
Special Postdoctoral Researcher
Balan Shabeesh
Visiting Researcher
Hisako Ohba
Technical Staff I
Yasuko Hisano
Technical Staff I
Yayoi Nozaki
Technical Staff I
Akiko Watanabe
Technical Staff Ⅱ
Hitomi Oban
Technical Staff II