Centers & Labs

RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology

Laboratory for Morphogenetic Signaling

Team Leader: Shigeo Hayashi (Ph.D.)
Shigeo  Hayashi(Ph.D.)

Our research aim is to understand fundamental mechanisms of animal morphogenesis with particular interest in the mechanical basis of tissue movement and its interaction with the extracellular environment. Our main research focus is the tracheal system in the Drosophila embryo, a network of tubular epithelium used as a respiratory organ. Trachea is formed through invagination, tube formation, elongation, fusion, and final maturation into a respiratory organ. We are particularly interested in the mechanical control of epithelial architectures. Epithelium is stabilized by cell-cell adhesion and cell-matrix adhesion. Breaking this stability is essential for initiating morphogenetic movement. We found that prospective tracheal primordium is under negative tension (pressurized). Anisotropic redistribution of tissue tension and timely mitosis initiates local mechanical instability that leads to tissue invagination movement (Kondo and Hayashi, 2013). Once the tracheal network is formed, tube diameter and length are enlarged to reach the final size. Tracheal size change involves increase in cell size, especially an increase in apical cell area facing the luminal side. A key question is how individually controlled cellular growth is coordinated to form coherent tissue architecture. We found that extracellular matrix in the luminal space plays a central role by providing mechanical stability to the tubules (Dong et al., 2013, 2014). Defects in extracellular matrix components lead to destabilization of tube shape and malformation, resulting in tubule morphology seen in organs under pathological conditions.

Another research area of interest is the mechanism of cell morphogenesis. Here we ask the question to what extent single cells can autonomously organize nanometer scale cellular patterns. Our studies have uncovered the role of the cellular trafficking center as an organizer of cell elongation (Otani et al., 2011).

Main Research Field

Biology & Biochemistry

Related Research Fields

Molecular Biology & Genetics

Research Subjects

  • Dynamics of epithelial architectures in morphogenesis
  • Control of cytoskeletons in cell morphogenesis

Selected Publications

  1. Dong B, et al.:
    "Cortical instability drives periodic supracellular actin pattern formation in epithelial tubes."
    PNAS 112. 8620-25 (2015)
  2. O Tani, et al.:
    "A transport and retention mechanism for the sustained distal localization of Spn-F-IKKε during Drosophila bristle elongation."
    Development 142. 2338-51 (2015)
  3. Miao G and Hayashi S.:
    "Manipulation of gene expression by infrared laser heat shock and its application to the study of tracheal development in Drosophila."
    Dev Dyn 244.479-87 (2015)
  4. Dong B, et al.:
    "Balance between apical membrane growth and luminal matrix resistance determines epithelial tubule shape."
    Cell Rep 7.941-50 (2014)
  5. Dong B et al.:
    "Rab9 and retromer regulate retrograde trafficking of luminal protein required for epithelial tube length control."
    Nat Commun 4.1358 (2013)
  6. Kondo T. and Hayashi S.:
    "Mitotic cell rounding accelerates epithelial invagination."
    Nature 494.125-9 (2013)

Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Shigeo Hayashi
Team Leader

Core Members

Toshiya Ando
Research Scientist
Wei-Chen Chu
Research Scientist
Yuki Itakura
Research Scientist
Yosuke Ogura
Special Postdoctoral Researcher
Anthony Eritano
International Program Associate
Housei Wada
Technical Staff I
Mustafa Mohammed Saeed Sami
Technical Staff I
Mai Shibata
Technical Staff II

Contact information

2-2-3 Minatojima-minamimachi, Chuo-ku
Kobe, Hyogo
650-0047 Japan

Email: shayashi [at]

Related links

Recent research results

August 12, 2016: RIKEN RESEARCH
Cellular tug-of-war
September 18, 2015: RIKEN RESEARCH
Controlling the cargo of cells
September 11, 2015: RIKEN RESEARCH
Modeling self-organization in biological pattern formation
January 16, 2015: RIKEN RESEARCH
Developmental control from an unexpected source