Centers & Labs

RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies

Post-Transcriptional Control Research Unit

Unit Leader: Motoaki Wakiyama (Ph.D.)
Motoaki  Wakiyama(Ph.D.)

The discovery of microRNAs dramatically widened the field of post-transcriptional control of gene expression. MicroRNAs and RNA-binding proteins regulate the translation and degradation of mRNAs in the cytoplasm, and consequently regulate the expression level of proteins involved in diverse biological processes, including development, cell differentiation, immune responses, and various diseases such as cancers. Most of the regulatory molecules function in very large ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes. Aiming at elucidating the molecular basis of the mRNA regulation, we will develop technologies to analyze the relevant huge RNP complexes, in combining molecular biology, biochemistry and structural biology.

Main Research Field


Related Research Fields

Biological Sciences

Research Subjects

  • Technologies for analyzing RNA-protein interactions.
  • Cell-free system for functional analysis of mRNA-binding protein/RNA complexes.
  • Conglomerate structure of RNA-protein complexes.

Selected Publications

  1. Wakiyama, M., and Yokoyama, S.:
    "MicroRNA-mediated deadenylation in a mammalian cell-free system"
    Methods Mol. Biol. 1125 341-351. 2014.
  2. Wakiyama, M., and Yokoyama, S.:
    "Post-Transcriptional Control of Protein Synthesis in Drosophila S2 Cell-Free System"
    Methods Mol. Biol. 1118 257-266. 2014.
  3. Yoshikawa, S., Kukimoto-Niino, M., Parker, L., Handa, N., Terada, T., Fujimoto, T., Terazawa, Y., Wakiyama, M., Sato, M., Sano, S., Kobayashi, T., Tanaka, T., Chen, L., Liu, Z-J., Wang, B-C., Shirouzu, M., Kawa, S., Semba, K., Yamamoto, T., Yokoyama, S.:
    "Structural basis for the altered drug sensitivities of non-small cell lung cancer-associated mutants of human epidermal growth factor receptor"
    Oncogene. 32 27-38. 2013.
  4. Hara-Yokoyama, M., Kukimoto-Niino, M., Terasawa, K., Harumiya, S., Podyma-Inoue, K.A., Hino, N., Sakamoto, K., Itoh, S, Hashii, N., Hiruta, Y., Kawasaki, N., Mishima-Tsumagari, C., Kaitsu, Y., Matsumoto, T., Wakiyama, M., Shirouzu, M., Kasama, T., Takayanagi, H., Utsunomiya-Tate, N., Takatsu, K., Katada, T., Hirabayashi, Y., Yokoyama, Y., and Yanagishita, M.:
    "Tetrameric interaction of the ectoenzyme CD38 on the cell surface enables its catalytic and raft-association activities"
    Structure. 20 1585-1595. 2012.
  5. Yamashita, S., Nagata, T., Kawazoe, M., Takemoto, C., Kigawa, T., Güntert, P., Kobayashi, N., Terada, T., Shirouzu, M., Wakiyama, M., Muto, Y., and Yokoyama, S.:
    "Structures of the first and second double-stranded RNA-binding domains of human TAR RNA-binding protein"
    Protein Sci. 20 118-130. 2011.
  6. Wakiyama, M., and Yokoyama, S.:
    "microRNA-mediated mRNA deadenylation and repression of protein synthesis in a mammalian cell-free system"
    Prog. Mol. Subcell. Biol. 50, 85-97. 2010.
  7. Takimoto, K., Wakiyama, M., and Yokoyama, S.:
    "Mammalian GW182 contains multiple Argonaute-binding sites and function in microRNA-mediated translational repression"
    RNA. 15 1078-1089. 2009.
  8. Hara-Yokoyama, M., Kimura, T., Kaku, H., Wakiyama, M., Kaitsu, Y., Inoue, M., Kusano, S., Shirouzu, M., Yokoyama, S., Katada, T., Hirabayashi, Y., Takatsu, K. and Yanagishita., M.:
    "Alteration of enzymatic properties of cell surface antigen CD38 by agonistic anti-CD38 antibodies that prolong B cell survival and induce activation"
    Int. Immunopharmacol. 8 59-70. 2008.
  9. Wakiyama, M., Takimoto, K., Ohara, O., and Yokoyama, S.:
    "Let-7 microRNA-mediated mRNA deadenylation and translational repression in a mammalian cell-free system"
    Genes Dev. 21 1857-1862. 2007.
  10. Wakiyama, M., Kaitsu, Y., and Yokoyama, S.:
    "Cell-free translation system from Drosophila S2 cells that recapitulates RNAi"
    Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 343 1067-1071. 2006.

Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Motoaki Wakiyama
Unit Leader

Core Members

Koichi Ogami
Research Scientist
Ryo Iwaoka
Research Associate

Contact information

1-7-22 Suehiro-cho, Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 230-0045, Japan

Email: motoaki.wakiyama [at]

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