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RIKEN Center for Advanced Photonics Biotechnological Optics Research Team

Team Leader: Atsushi Miyawaki (M.D., Ph.D)

Research Summary

Atsushi  Miyawaki(M.D., Ph.D)

We label a fluorescent probe on a specific region of a biological molecule and bring it back into a cell. We can then visualize how the biological molecule behaves in response to external stimulation. Since fluorescence is a physical phenomenon, we can extract various kinds of information by making full use of its characteristics. For example, the excited energy of a fluorescent molecule donor transfers to an acceptor relative to the distance and orientation between the two fluorophores. This phenomenon can be used to identify interaction between biological molecules or structural change in biological molecules. Besides, we can apply all other characteristics of fluorescence, such as polarization, quenching, photobleaching, photoconversion, and photochromism, in experimentation. Cruising inside cells in a super-micro corps, gliding down in a microtubule like a roller coaster, pushing our ways through a jungle of chromatin while hoisting a flag of nuclear localization signal --- we are reminded to retain a playful and adventurous perspective at all times. What matters is mobilizing all capabilities of science and giving full play to our imagination.

Main Research Fields

  • Medicine, Dentistry & Pharmacy

Related Research Fields

  • Engineering
  • Biological Sciences
  • Biology


  • Bio-imaging
  • Fluorescence protein
  • Chromophore group

Selected Publications

  • 1.Hama H, Hioki H, Namiki K, Hoshida T, Kurokawa H, Ishidate F, Kaneko T, Akagi T, Saito T, Saido T, Miyawaki A.:
    “ScaleS: an optical clearing palette for biological imaging”
    Nat. Neurosci., 18 (10): 1518-1529. (2015)
  • 2.Tsutsui H, Jinno Y, Shoda K,Tomita A, Matsuda M,Yamashita E, Katayama H ,Nakagawa A,Miyawaki A.:
    “ A Diffraction-Quality Protein Crystal Processed as an Autophagic Cargo”
    Mol. Cell, 58 (1), 186-193. (2015)
  • 3.Sakaue-Sawano A, Hoshida T, Yo M, Takahashi R, Ohtawa K, Arai T, Takahashi E, Noda S, Miyoshi H, Miyawaki A.:
    “ Visualizing developmentally programmed endoreplication in mammals using ubiquitin oscillators”
    Development, 140, 4624-4632.(2013)
  • 4.Kumagai A, Ando R, Miyatake H, Greimel P, Kobayashi T, Hirabayashi Y, Shimogori T, Miyawaki A.:
    “ A Bilirubin-Inducible Fluorescent Protein from Eel Muscle”
    Cell, 153 (7): 1602-1611.(2013)
  • 5.Shimozono S, Iimura T, Kitaguchi T, Higashijima SI, Miyawaki A.:
    “Visualization of an endogenous retinoic acid gradient across embryonic development”
    Nature, 496 (7445):363-366.(2013)
  • 6.Miyawaki A, Shcherbakova DM, Verkhusha VV.:
    “ Red fluorescent proteins: chromophore formation and cellular applications”
    Curr. Opin. Struct. Biol., 22 (5): 679-688.(2012)
  • 7.Miyawaki A.:
    ”Proteins on the move: insights gained from fluorescent protein technologies”
    Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol.,12 (10): 656-668.
  • 8.Hama H, Kurokawa H, Kawano H, Ando R, Shimogori T, Noda H, Fukami K, Sakaue-Sawano A, Miyawaki A.:
    “ Scale: a chemical approach for fluorescence imaging and reconstruction of transparent mouse brain.”
    Nature Neuroscience, 14 (11): 1481-1488.(2011)
  • 9.Katayama H, Kogure T, Mizushima N, Yoshimori T, Miyawaki A.:
    “A Sensitive and Quantitative Technique for Detecting Autophagic Events Based on Lysosomal Delivery.”
    Chemistry & Biology, 18 (8): 1042-1052.(2011)
  • 10.Miyawaki A.:
    “Development of Probes for Cellular Functions Using Fluorescent Proteins and Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer”
    Annu Rev Biochem., 80: 357-373.(2011)

Related Links

Lab Members

Principal investigator

Atsushi Miyawaki
Team Leader

Core members

Masahiko Hirano
Research Scientist
Takaaki Michikawa
Research Scientist
Tetsushi Hoshida
Technical Staff I
Asako Tosaki
Technical Staff II
Fumiyoshi Ishidate
Research Consultant
Hidekazu Tsutsui
Visiting Scientist

Contact Information

2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan
Email: miyawaki-lab.ast [at] ml.riken.jp