We try to contribute to the construction of a sustainable society by conducting research on the life sciences from the basics to the applications to address the various issues faced by modern society. Much of our research is carried out in collaboration with universities, research institutes and private companies in Japan and abroad.

Applied Biology Group, Insects Unit: Exploring the Diversity and Functionality of Insects

Our mission is to investigate the diversity and functions of insects, uncovering their secrets. Specifically, we focus on insects like crickets, investigating mechanisms such as diapause that allow adaptation to seasonal changes, genomic analysis of crickets (Kataoka et al. 2020; Sanno et al. 2021; Kataoka et al. 2022), exploring mechanisms of sex differentiation, analysis of cricket gut microbiota (Hirata et al. 2023), and the development of technologies using deep learning to track cricket behavior patterns (Hayakawa et al. 2024). We also conduct applied studies on the use of insects as food and feed materials. Through these studies, we aim to develop applications by understanding the unknown functions of insects and exploring their potential as new bioresources.

In our lab, we use technologies such as long-read sequencing for chromosome-scale genome assembly, metagenome shotgun analysis, transcriptome analysis, proteome analysis, and single-cell analysis. Moreover, we incorporate deep learning-based techniques for behavior and posture estimation (phenome), extending our research to multi-layered multi-omics analysis. We also actively use public database analysis methods to enhance the efficiency of our research.

Together with students and collaborators who share an interest in these themes, we are pioneering research into the mysteries of insects. Through these activities, we continue to uncover the secrets of unknown life forms and advance research that contributes to the welfare of humanity.

This research is conducted under the Cabinet Office, Government of Japan, Cross-ministerial Moonshot Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research and Development Program, and “Technologies for Smart Bio-industry and Agriculture” (https://if3-moonshot.org/).

References (members of the group are shown in bold)

[1] Dossey, A. T., Oppert, B., Chu, F.-C., Lorenzen, M. D., Scheffler, B., Simpson, S., Koren, S., Johnston, J. S., Kataoka, K., & Ide, K. (2023). Genome and Genetic Engineering of the House Cricket (Acheta domesticus): A Resource for Sustainable Agriculture. Biomolecules, 13(4), 589. DOI: 10.3390/biom13040589

[2] Hasan, M. M., Rahman, M. M., Kataoka, K., Yura, K., Faruque, M. O., Shadhen, F. R., & Mondal, M. F. (2021). Edible wild field cricket (Brachytrupes portentosus) trading in Bangladesh. Journal of Insects as Food and Feed, 7(8), 1255–1262. DOI: 10.3920/JIFF2020.0163

[3] Hamdi, F. A., Kataoka, K., Arai, Y., Takeda, N., Yamamoto, M., Mohammad, Y. F. O., Ghazy, N. A., & Suzuki, T. (2023). An octopamine receptor involved in feeding behavior of the two-spotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae Koch: a possible candidate for RNAi-based pest control. Entomologia Generalis, 43(1), 89–97. DOI: 10.1127/entomologia/2023/1808

[4] Hayakawa, S., Kataoka, K., Yamamoto, M., Asahi, T., & Suzuki, T. (2024). DeepLabCut-based daily behavioural and posture analysis in a cricket. Biology Open, 13(4). DOI: 10.1242/bio.060237

[5] Hirata, K., Asahi, T., & Kataoka, K. (2023). Spatial and Sexual Divergence of Gut Bacterial Communities in Field Cricket Teleogryllus occipitalis (Orthoptera: Gryllidae). Microbial Ecology, 86(4), 2627–2641. DOI: 10.1007/s00248-023-02265-z

[6] Kataoka, K., Minei, R., Ide, K., Ogura, A., Takeyama, H., Takeda, M., Suzuki, T., Yura, K., & Asahi, T. (2020). The Draft Genome Dataset of the Asian Cricket Teleogryllus occipitalis for Molecular Research Toward Entomophagy. Frontiers in Genetics, 11, 470. DOI: 10.3389/fgene.2020.00470

[7] Kataoka, K., Togawa, Y., Sanno, R., Asahi, T., & Yura, K. (2022). Dissecting cricket genomes for the advancement of entomology and entomophagy. Biophysical Reviews, 14(1), 75–97. DOI: 10.1007/s12551-021-00924-4

[8] Murata, K., Kataoka, K., Sanno, R., Satomura, K., Ogura, A., Asahi, T., Yura, K., & Suzuki, T. (2023). Complete mitochondrial genome sequences of two ground crickets, Dianemobius fascipes nigrofasciatus and Polionemobius taprobanensis (Orthoptera: Grylloidea: Trigonidiidae). Mitochondrial DNA Part B, 8(12), 1311–1315. DOI: 10.1080/23802359.2023.2285400

[9] Sanno, R., Kataoka, K., Hayakawa, S., Ide, K., Nguyen, C. N., Nguyen, T. P., Le, B. T. N., Kim, O. T. P., Mineta, K., Takeyama, H., Takeda, M., Sato, T., Suzuki, T., Yura, K., & Asahi, T. (2021). Comparative Analysis of Mitochondrial Genomes in Gryllidea (Insecta: Orthoptera): Implications for Adaptive Evolution in Ant-Loving Crickets. Genome Biology and Evolution, 13(10). DOI: 10.1093/gbe/evab222

Applied Biology Group, Anti-Aging & Cellular Biology Unit: Unveiling Aging Mechanisms and Developing Anti-Aging Strategies

Our mission is to elucidate the mechanisms of aging and develop new methods to counter its progression. Specifically, the main focus of our research is how cannabinoid receptors affect the functions of neurons and muscle cells (Kataoka et al. 2020), and how these cells respond to mechanical stress related to aging. Additionally, we conduct detailed analyses of aging mechanisms in cells that make up the mammalian cerebrovascular system. We also develop cell culture systems as our research tools (Mori et al. 2023).

To carry out these studies, we use various technologies including cell culture techniques, genome editing tools like CRISPR-Cas9, stretch culture systems, and single-cell RNA-seq analysis to obtain detailed data at the cellular level. Furthermore, we extract meaningful information from vast datasets through bioinformatics and public database analysis (Sato et al. 2023).

Our laboratory brings together students and collaborators interested in these advanced research topics to advance research that contributes to the future of medicine and health promotion. By challenging the natural phenomenon of aging, we aim to acquire the knowledge and technology to improve people's quality of life.

References (members of the group are shown in bold)

[1] Kataoka, K., Bilkei-Gorzo, A., Nozaki, C., Togo, A., Nakamura, K., Ohta, K., Zimmer, A., Asahi, T. (2020) Age-dependent Alteration in Mitochondrial Dynamics and Autophagy in Hippocampal Neuron of Cannabinoid CB1 Receptor-deficient Mice. Brain Res. Bull. 160, 40-49. DOI: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2020.03.014

[2] Mori, K., Kataoka, K., Akiyama, Y., & Asahi, T. (2023). Covalent Immobilization of Collagen Type I to a Polydimethylsiloxane Surface for Preventing Cell Detachment by Retaining Collagen Molecules under Uniaxial Cyclic Mechanical Stretching Stress. Biomacromolecules. DOI: 10.1021/acs.biomac.3c00669

[3] Sato, Y., Asahi, T., & Kataoka, K. (2023). Integrative single-cell RNA-seq analysis of vascularized cerebral organoids. BMC Biology, 21(1), 245. DOI: 10.1186/s12915-023-01711-1