Hiroshi Kataoka / Professor / Division of Biosciences
Department of Integrated Biosciences / / Molecular Recognition

Career Summary
1981: BSc, Faculty of Agriculture, The University of Tokyo
1986: PhD (Agriculture), The University of Tokyo
1986-88: Post-doctoral Fellow, Zoecon Research Institute, U.S.A.
1988-94: Assistant Professor, The University of Tokyo
1994-99: Associate Professor, The University of Tokyo
1999-present: Professor, The University of Tokyo

Educational Activities
Graduate school: Molecular recognition, Bioscience Analytical Instruments

Research Activities
We are studying typical insect phenomena such as molting and metamorphosis. We have identified various neuropeptide hormones produced by the central nervous system, which controls the production of the molting hormone, named ecdysone (steroid hormone), from the prothoracic gland. In addition, we have characterized biosynthetic enzymes, membrane receptors, and regulators involved in ecdysone biosynthesis in the prothoracic gland. Through these studies, we aim to clarify how insects control their growth and development timing.

1) Yamanaka, N. et al. (2006) Regulation of insect steroid hormone biosynthesis by innervating peptidergic neurons. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA., 103: 8622-8627.
2) Sakudoh, T. et al. (2007) Carotenoid uptake and silk coloration by an intracellular carotenoid-binding protein, the unraveled Yellow blood gene. Proc. Natl. Acd. Sci. USA., 104: 8941-8946.
3) Yamanaka, N. et al.(2008) Neuropeptide receptor transcriptome reveals unidentified neuroendocrine pathway. PLoS ONE, 3, e3048: 1-12.
4) Okamoto, N. et al. (2009) Fat body derived IGF-like peptide regulates post-feeding growth in Drosophila. Dev. Cell, 17: 885-891.
5) Yamanaka, N. et al. (2010) Bombyx prothoracicostatic peptides activate the sex peptide receptor to regulate ecdysteroid biosynthesis. Proc. Natl. Acd. Sci. USA., 107: 2060-2065.
6) Yoshiyama-Yanagawa, T. et al. (2011) The conserved Rieske oxygenase DAF-36/Neverland is a novel cholesterol metabolizing enzyme. J. Biol. Chem., 286, 25756-25762.

Other Activities
Japan Society for Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Agrochemistry
The Japan Society for Comparative Endocrinology
The Japanese Peptide Society

Future Plan
On the basis of research on the mechanisms of the characteristic phenomena of insects, we plan to extend our study to whole organisms, including mammals. Recently, we have become interested in how the insects accumulate environmental information, such as the season, and how they convert this information to hormonal signals for controlling their growth and development.

Messages to Students
New technologies in the biosciences have been developing rapidly recently. It now takes only a few weeks to complete work that would have taken several years a decade ago. However, hot topics of research now will also be forgotten as past research in the future. Few students can continue research such as that conducted in graduate school throughout their lives. I hope you, in your graduate school years, grasp what is important in developing research, what should be done now, and what is necessary to advance your research so that it will go down in history. I want you to work hard, not only in competing with others to get results quickly, but also in realizing that you are the leader of your own research project.