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Chief Scientist Laboratories Molecular Physiology Laboratory

Chief Scientist: Rikiya Watanabe (Ph.D.)

Research Summary

Rikiya  Watanabe(Ph.D.)

Our study aims to understand cellular functions using a bottom-up approach from the single molecule level. To achieve this, we are attempting to elucidate the mechanism by which individual biomolecules or their networks function in a precise manner, by developing novel single-molecule techniques using multidisciplinary approaches, including biophysics, bioMEMS, and chemical biology. In addition, we are developing a methodology to investigate correlations between genetic mutations, dysfunctions, and diseases with single molecule sensitivity, which would provide new insights for biological as well as pharmaceutical studies.

Main Research Fields

  • Biology

Related Research Fields

  • Interdisciplinary Science & Engineering
  • Biophysics
  • Nano/Microsystems


  • Membrane protein
  • Artificial Biomembrane
  • Artificial cell
  • bioMEMS
  • Digital Biology

Selected Publications

Papers with an asterisk(*) are based on research conducted outside of RIKEN.

  • 1.*Watanabe, R., Sakuragi, T., Noji, H., & Nagata, S.:
    “Single molecule analysis of phospholipid scrambling by TMEM16F”
    Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 115, 3066-3071 (2018)
  • 2.*Baba, K., Yoshida, W., Toriyama, M., Shimada, T., Manning, C., Saito, M., Kohno, K., Trimmer, J., Watanabe, R., & Inagaki, N.:
    “Gradient-reading and mechano-effector machinery for netrin-1–induced axon guidance”
    eLife 7, e34593. (2018)
  • 3.*Abe, K., Katsuno, H., Toriyama, M., Baba, K., Mori, T., Hakoshima, T., Kanemura, Y., Watanabe, R., & Inagaki, N.:
    “Grip and slip of L1-CAM on adhesive substrates direct growth cone haptotaxis”
    Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 115, 2764-2769 (2018)
  • 4.*Watanabe, R., Soga, N., Hara, M., & Noji, H.:
    “Arrayed water-in-oil droplet bilayers for membrane transport analysis”
    Lab Chip 16, 3043-3048 (2016)
  • 5.*Li, C. B., Ueno, H., Watanabe, R., Noji, H., & Komatsuzaki, T.
    “ATP hydrolysis assists Phosphate release and promotes reaction ordering in F1-ATPase”
    Nat. Commun. 6, 10223 (2015)
  • 6.*Watanabe, R., Soga, N., Fujita, D., Tabata, K. V., Yamauchi, L., Kim, SH., Asanuma, D., Kamiya, M., Urano, Y., Suga, H., & Noji, H.:
    “Arrayed lipid bilayer chambers allow single-molecule analysis of membrane transporter activity”
    Nat. Commun. 5, 4519 (2014)
  • 7.*Watanabe, R., & Noji, H.:
    “Timing of inorganic phosphate release modulates the catalytic activity of ATP-driven rotary motor protein”
    Nat. Commun. 5, 3486 (2014)
  • 8.*Watanabe, R., Tabata, KV., Iino, R., Ueno, H., Iwamoto, M., Oiki, S., & Noji, H.:
    “Biased Brownian stepping rotation of FoF1-ATP synthase driven by proton motive force”
    Nat. Commun. 4, 1631 (2013)
  • 9.*Watanabe, R., Okuno, D. Sakakihara, S. Shimabukuro, K. Iino, R. Yoshida, M. & Noji, H.:
    “Mechanical modulation of catalytic power on F1-ATPase”
    Nat. Chem. Biol. 1, 86-92 (2012)
  • 10.*Watanabe, R., Iino, R. & Noji, H.:
    “Phosphate release in F1-ATPase catalytic cycle follows ADP release.”
    Nat. Chem. Biol. 6, 814-20 (2010)

Annual research report

Related Links

Lab Members

Principal investigator

Rikiya Watanabe
Chief Scientist

Contact Information

Bioscience Building S252
2-1 Hirosawa, Wako,
Saitama 351-0198, Japan
Email: rikiya.watanabe [at] riken.jp