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RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences Laboratory for Functional Non-coding Genomics

Team Leader: Yuka Iwasaki (Ph.D.)

Research Summary

Yuka W. Iwasaki

One of the significant achievements of recent transcriptome research is elucidating the importance of "non-coding genomic regions" that do not encode proteins. In diverse eukaryotes, non-coding genomic regions occupy huge portions of the genome. They include non-coding RNAs that do not code for proteins but perform various functions as RNAs and transposons that have the property of transposing or jumping around the genome. We aim to understand diseases, including developmental disorders, from new perspectives by clarifying and regulating the functional mechanisms of non-coding genomic regions.

Main Research Fields

  • Biology

Related Research Fields

  • Informatics
  • Complex Systems
  • Biological Sciences
  • Molecular biology-related
  • Genome biology-related
  • System genome science-related


  • Non-coding RNA
  • Transposable element
  • Epigenetic regulation
  • Omics analysis
  • RNA biology

Selected Publications

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

  • 1. Takeuchi C, Yokoshi M, Kondo S, Shibuya A, Saito K, Fukaya T, Siomi H, Iwasaki YW.
    "Mod(mdg4) variants repress telomeric retrotransposon HeT-A by blocking subtelomeric enhancers"
    Nucleic Acids Research, 50: 11580-11599 (2022)
  • 2. *Iwasaki YW, Sriswasdi S, Kinugasa Y, Adachi J, Horikoshi Y, Shibuya A, Iwasaki W, Tashiro S, Tomonaga T, Siomi H.
    "Piwi–piRNA complexes induce stepwise changes in nuclear architecture at target loci"
    The EMBO Journal, 40: e108345 (2021)
  • 3. *Hasuwa H, Iwasaki YW, Au Yeung WK, Ishino K, Masuda H, Sasaki H, Siomi H.
    "Production of functional oocytes requires maternally expressed PIWI genes and piRNAs in golden hamsters"
    Nature Cell Biology, 23: 1002-1012 (2021)
  • 4. *Murano K, Iwasaki YW, Ishizu H, Mashiko A, Shibuya A, Kondo S, Adachi S, Suzuki S, Saito K, Natsume T, Siomi MC, Siomi H.
    "Nuclear RNA export factor variant initiates piRNA‐guided co‐transcriptional silencing"
    The EMBO Journal, 38: e102870 (2019)
  • 5. *Nishida KM, Sakakibara K, Iwasaki YW, Yamada H, Murakami R, Murota Y, Kawamura T, Kodama T, Siomi H, Siomi MC.
    "Hierarchical roles of mitochondrial Papi and Zucchini in Bombyx germline piRNA biogenesis"
    Nature, 555: 260-264 (2018)
  • 6. *Iwasaki YW, Murano K, Ishizu H, Shibuya A, Iyoda Y, Siomi MC, Siomi H, Saito K.
    "Piwi modulates chromatin accessibility by regulating multiple factors including Histone H1 to repress transposons"
    Molecular Cell, 63: 408–419 (2016)
  • 7. *Sato K, Iwasaki YW, Shibuya A, Carninci P, Tsuchizawa Y, Ishizu H, Siomi MC, Siomi H.
    "Krimper enforces an antisense bias on piRNA pools by binding AGO3 in the Drosophila germline"
    Molecular Cell, 59: 553–563 (2015)
  • 8. *Iwasaki YW, Siomi MC, Siomi H.
    "PIWI-interacting RNA: its biogenesis and functions"
    Annual Review of Biochemistry, 84: 405-433 (2015)
  • 9. *Hirano T, Iwasaki YW, Lin ZY, Imamura M, Seki NM, Sasaki E, Saito K, Okano H, Siomi MC, Siomi H.
    "Small RNA profiling and characterization of piRNA clusters in the adult testes of the common marmoset, a model primate"
    RNA, 20: 1223-1237 (2014)
  • 10. *Iwasaki YW, Kiga K, Kayo H, Fukuda-Yuzawa Y, Weise J, Inada T, Tomita M, Ishihama Y, Fukao T.
    "Global microRNA elevation by inducible Exportin 5 regulates cell cycle entry"
    RNA, 19: 490-497 (2013)

Related Links

Lab Members

Principal investigator

Yuka Iwasaki
Team Leader

Core members

Sefan Asamitsu
Research Scientist
Aoi Shibuya
Technical Staff I
Hiromi Yamada
Postdoctoral Researcher
Yoshifumi Fujioka
Postdoctoral Researcher
Shota Azuma
Junior Research Associate

Contact Information

1-7-22 Suehiro-cho, Tsurumi-ku,
Yokohama City, Kanagawa,
230-0045, Japan
Email: yiwasaki [at] riken.jp