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RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science Plant Immunity Research Group

Group Director: Ken Shirasu (Ph.D.)

Research Summary

Ken  Shirasu(Ph.D.)

Our group’s ultimate goal is to fully describe functions of genes, proteins and small molecular compounds that are essential for immunity in plants. As the first step, we focus on regulatory mechanism of immunity by studying dynamics of resistance signaling complexes and protein modifications that control defense responses. In addition, we plan to identify novel genes involved in plant immunity by isolating defense mutants in model plants. We also collaborate with the Metabolomics Research Group to isolate small molecule compounds involved in disease resistance.

Main Research Fields

  • Biology

Related Research Fields

  • Agricultural Sciences


  • Plant Immunity
  • Plant-Microbe Interactions
  • Genomics
  • Plant Chemical Biology
  • Signal Transduction

Selected Publications

  • 1.Spallek, T., Melnyk, C.W., Wakatake, T., Zhang, J., Sakamoto, Y., Kiba, T., Yoshida, S., Matsunaga, S., Sakakibara, H., Shirasu, K.:
    "Inter-species hormonal control of host root morphology by parasitic plants"
    Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 114:5283-5288. (2017)
  • 2.Ishida, J. K., Wakatake, T., Yoshida, S., Takebayashi, Y., Kasahara, H., Wafula, E., dePamphilis, C. W., Shigetou N., Shirasu, K.*
    Local auxin biosynthesis mediated by a YUCCA flavin monooxygenase regulates the haustorium development in the parasitic plant Phtheirospermum japonicum"
    Plant Cell 28:1795-1814. (2016)
  • 3.Conn, C. E., Bythell-Douglas, R., Neumann, D., Yoshida, S., Whittington, B., Westwood, J. H., Shirasu, K., Bond, C. S. Dyer, K. A., Nelson, D. C.:
    "Convergent evolution of strigolactone perception enabled host detection in parasitic plants"
    Science 349: 540-543. (2015)
  • 4.Kadota, Y., Jan Sklenar, J., Derbyshire, P., Stransfeld, L., Asai, S., Ntoukakis, V., Jones, J.D.G., Shirasu, K., Menke, F., Jones, A., and Zipfel, C.:
    "Direct regulation of the NADPH oxidase RBOHD by the PRRassociated kinase BIK1 is required for ROS bu and plant immunity"
    Mol. Cell 54: 43-55. (2014)
  • 5.Gan, P., Ikeda, K., Irieda, H., Narusaka, M., O’Connell, R.J., Narusaka, Y., Takano, Y., Kubo, Y., Shirasu,K.:
    "Comparative genomic and transcriptomic analyses reveal the hemibiotrophic stage shift of Colletotrichum fungi"
    New Phytologist 197:1236-1249. (2013)
  • 6.Noutoshi, Y., Okazaki, M., Kida, T., Nishina, Y., Morishita, Y., Ogawa, T., Suzuki, S., Shibata, D., Jikumaru, Y., Hanada, A., Kamiya, Y., and Shirasu, K.:
    "Novel plant immune-priming compounds identified via high-throughput chemical screening target salicylic acid glucosyltransferases in Arabidopsis"
    Plant Cell 24:3795-3804. (2012)
  • 7.O'Connell R.J. et. al.,:
    "Lifestyle transitions in plant pathogenic Colletotrichum fungi deciphered by genome and transcriptome analyses"
    Nature Genetics 44:1060-1065. (2012)
  • 8.Yaeno, T., Li, H., Chaparro-Garcia, A., Schornack, S., Koshiba, S., Watanabe, S., Kigawa, T., Kamoun, S., and Shirasu, K.:
    "Phosphatidylinositol monophosphate-binding interface in the oomycete RXLR effector AVR3a is required for its stability in host cells to modulate plant immunity"
    Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 108: 14682-14687. (2011)
  • 9.Zhang M., Kadota Y., Prodromou C., Shirasu K., and Pearl L. H.:
    "Structural Basis for Assembly of Hsp90-Sgt1-CHORD Protein Complexes: Implications for Chaperoning of NLR Innate Immunity Receptors"
    Molecular Cell 39:269-281. (2010)
  • 10.Yoshida S., Maruyama S., Nozaki H., and Shirasu K.:
    "Horizontal Gene Transfer by the Parasitic Plant Striga hermonthica"
    Science 328:1128.(2010)

Recent Research Results

Related Links

Lab Members

Principal investigator

Ken Shirasu
Group Director

Core members

Yasuhiro Kadota
Research Scientist
Pamela Hui Peng Gan
Research Scientist
Nobuaki Ishihama
Research Scientist
Anuphon Laohavisit
Research Scientist
Naoyoshi Kumakura
Special Postdoctoral Researcher
Thomas Spallek
Foreign Postdoctoral Researcher
Yuji Ishigaki
Postdoctoral Researcher
Takanori Wakatake
Postdoctoral Researcher
Satoshi Ogawa
Postdoctoral Researcher
Kazuki Sato
Postdoctoral Researcher
Kaori Takizawa
Technical Staff II
Ryoko Hiroyama
Technical Staff II
Noriko Maki
Technical Staff II
Arisa Shibata
Technical Staff II

Contact Information

E618 East Research Building, 1-7-22 Suehiro-cho, Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama City, Kanagawa, 230-0045, Japan

Email: ken.shirasu [at] riken.jp