Centers & Labs

RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology

Laboratory for Cell Adhesion and Tissue Patterning

Team Leader: Masatoshi Takeichi (Ph.D.)
Masatoshi  Takeichi(Ph.D.)

Animal cells organize into tissues with complex architecture. Our lab is exploring the molecular mechanisms by which individual cells assemble into a tissue-specific multicellular structure, such as epithelial sheets and neural networks. We are also interested in the molecular basis of how tissue architecture is disrupted during carcinogenesis, a process that is thought to accelerate the metastasis of cancer cells. For these studies, we are focusing on the roles played by cell-cell adhesion and recognition molecules, the cadherin family of adhesion molecules in particular, as these are known to be indispensable for tissue construction. Our current studies are divided into three categories:

  1. Cell-cell adhesion is a dynamic process, and this nature of cell-cell adhesion is implicated in various cell behaviors, such as contact-dependent regulation of cell movement and cancer metastasis. A growing body of evidence suggests that cadherins cooperate with cytoskeletal and/or motility machineries, such as actin regulators, non-muscle myosins, and Rho GTPases, in modulating cell assembly. We are therefore studying the molecular mechanisms underlying the crosstalk between cadherins and such cytoskeletal systems, and their roles in epithelial junction formation.
  2. A second area of interest to our lab is to gain a better understanding of how the cell-cell adhesion machinery contributes to animal morphogenesis. Using mouse embryos, we are analyzing the roles of cadherins and associated proteins in various morphogenetic processes, including neural crest migration. We are also investigating the roles of members of the cadherin superfamily known as protocadherins, deficiencies of which have been implicated in human brain disorders. Through these studies, we expect to gain deeper mechanistic insights into the ways by which cells build the elaborate structures of the animal body.
  3. In addition, we have been analyzing the functions of microtubule minus end-associated proteins, Nezha/CAMSAPs. These proteins regulate microtubule assembly patterns, centrosomal function, and organelle positioning. We are exploring the roles of these molecules in cellular morphogenesis, such as polarized epithelial formation and axon growth, with the aim of uncovering novel functions of non-centrosomal microtubules.

Main Research Field



  • Cell adhesion
  • Tissue formation
  • Cancer metastasis
  • Cadherin
  • Catenin

Selected Publications

  1. Nishimura, T., Ito, S., Saito, H., Hiver, S., Ikenouchi, I., and Takeichi, M.
    "DAAM1 stabilizes epithelial junctions by restraining WAVE complex-dependent lateral membrane motility."
    J. Cell Biol. 215.559-573 (2016)
  2. Toya, M., Kobayashi, S., Kawasaki, M., Shioi, G., Kanano, M., Ishiuchi, T., Misaki, K., Meng, W., and Takeichi, M.
    "CAMSAP3 orients the apical-to-basal polarity of microtubule arrays in epithelial cells."
    Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 113.332-337 (2016)
  3. Tsukasaki, Y.., Miyazaki, N., Matsumoto, A., Nagae, S., Yonemura, S., Tanoue, T., Iwasaki, K., and Takeichi, M.
    "Giant cadherins Fat and Dachsous self-bend to organize properly spaced intercellular junctions."
    Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 111.1601-6 (2014)
  4. Hayashi, S., Inoue, Y., Kiyonari, H., Abe, T., Misaki, M., Moriguchi, M., Tanaka, Y., and Takeichi, M.
    "Protocadherin-17 mediates collective axon extension by recruiting actin regulator complexes to interaxonal contacts."
    Dev Cell 30.673-87 (2014)
  5. Takeichi, M.
    "Dynamic contacts: rearranging adherens junctions to drive epithelial remodelling."
    Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 15.397-410 (2014)
  6. Tanaka, N., Meng, W., Nagae, S., and Takeichi, M.
    "Nezha/CAMSAP3 and CAMSAP2 cooperate in epithelial-specific organization of noncentrosomal microtubules."
    Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109.20029-34 (2012)
  7. Nishimura, T., Honda, H., and Takeichi, M.
    "Planar cell polarity links axes of spatial dynamics in neural-tube closure."
    Cell 149.1084-97 (2012)

Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Masatoshi Takeichi
Team Leader

Core Members

Shoko Ito
Research Scientist
Toshiya Kimura
Research Scientist
Miwa Kawasaki
Technical Staff II
Hiroko Saito
Technical Staff II
Sylvain Jean Victor Hiver
Technical Staff II

Contact information

3F, RIKEN CDB Bldg.A, 2-2-3 Minatojima-minamimachi, Chuo-ku
Kobe, Hyogo
650-0047 Japan

Email: takeichi [at]

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