Department of Genome Biology

Molecular Genetics

Programmed cell death
  • Mechanism of apoptotic cell death
  • Mechanism of non-apoptotic cell death
  • The programming of cell death in mice

Physiological cell death and pathological cell death

Many biological phenomena, such as morphogenesis or homeostasis depend on an innate program that causes cells to die. Irregularities in this program can lead to cancer, neurodegeneration and other diseases. Therefore, programmed cell death is of interest in both basic research and medicine. Beginning with the time when the lab was run by Professor Yoshihide Tsujimoto, we are investigating the mechanisms that regulate cell death.


Apoptosis is one of the most well studied cell death programs, and we have studied it intensely. Although apoptosis was thought to be the main mechanism of the programmed cell death, several non-apoptotic cell death programs have been established in these days, and these have been garnering greater attention. We have been investigating these alternative programs including various types of necrosis and autophagy-dependent cell death. On the other hand, precise mechanisms of cell death found in various pathological disorders has not been elucidated, so that the continuous research on apoptosis and non-apoptotic cell death should be necessary to understand the mechanisms of physiological and pathological cell death.