Laboratory for Ultrastructural Research | RIKEN BDR

Laboratory for Ultrastructural Research

Team Leader

Shigenobu YonemuraPh.D.

Photo of principal investigator

  • Location:Kobe / Developmental Biology Buildings
  • E-mail:
    shigenobu.yonemura[at]riken.jpPlease replace [at] with @.

We obtain and analyze ultrastructural information of cells and tissues by utilizing electron microscopy for elucidation of principles of life towards applied research.

Research Summary

This research team analyzes detailed morphological information in various researches of the life science field, which is acquired through ultrastructural techniques using transmission and scanning electron microscopy. In collaboration with many laboratories including within RIKEN, we have accumulated a large amount of experiences to improve methods for better morphology.

Research Theme

  • Regulation of adherens junction remodellig by forces using alpha-catenin as a mechanotransducer.
  • Molecular mechanism of perception of dead cells and signaling of wound closure in cell sheets.
  • Role of force generated by myosin II on establishment of epithelial polarity.

Main Publications List

  • Ando T, Sekine S, Inagaki S, et al.
    Nanopore Formation in the Cuticle of an Insect Olfactory Sensillum.
    Current Biology (2019) doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.03.043
  • Maki K, Han SW, Hirano Y, et al.
    Real-time TIRF observation of vinculin recruitment to stretched α-catenin by AFM.
    Scientific Report. (2018) 8(1):1575. doi : 10.1038/s41598-018-20115-8.
  • Akiyama T, Inoko A, Kaji Y, et al.
    SHG-specificity of cellular Rootletin filaments enables naïve imaging with universal conservation.
    Scientific Report. (2017) 7:39967. doi: 10.1038/srep39967.
  • S. Yonemura.
    Actin filament association at adherens junctions.
    Journal of Medical Investigaiton (2017) 64: 14-19. doi: 10.2152/jmi.64.14.
  • Otani T, Ogura Y, Misaki K, et al.
    IKKϵ inhibits PKC to promote Fascin-dependent actin bundling.
    Development. (2016) 143(20):3806-3816 doi 10.1242/dev.138495
  • Maki K, Han SW, Hirano Y, et al.
    Mechano-adaptive sensory mechanism of α-catenin under tension.
    Scientific Report. (2016) 6:24878. doi: 10.1038/srep24878.
  • Shibata N, Kashima M, Ishiko T, et al.
    Inheritance of a Nuclear PIWI from Pluripotent Stem Cells by Somatic Descendants Ensures Differentiation by Silencing Transposons in Planarian.
    Developmental Cell. (2016) 37(3):226-37. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2016.04.009.
  • Tsujioka M, Yumura S, Inouye K, et al.
    Talin couples the actomyosin cortex to the plasma membrane during rear retraction and cytokinesis.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 109(32). 12992-12997 (2012) doi: 10.1073/pnas.1208296109
  • Yonemura S.
    A mechanism of mechanotransduction at the cell-cell interface: emergence of α-catenin as the center of a force-balancing mechanism for morphogenesis in multicellular organisms.
    Bioessays 33(10). 732-736 (2011) doi: 10.1002/bies.201100064
  • Yonemura S.
    Cadherin-actin interactions at adherens junctions.
    Current Opinion in Cell Biology 23(5). 525-522 (2011) doi: 10.1016/
  • Yonemura S, Wada Y, Watanabe T, et al.
    alpha-Catenin as a tension transducer that induces adherens junction development.
    Nature Cell Biology 12(6). 533-542 (2010) doi: 10.1038/ncb2055


Shigenobu YonemuraTeam Leader shigenobu.yonemura[at]
Shigeo HayashiDeputy Team Leader  
Kenta OnoueTechnical Staff I  
Satoko OkayamaTechnical Staff I  

*:concurrent / Please replace [at] with @.