Koichi Ito / Professor / Division of Biosciences
Department of Computational Biology and Medical Sciences / / Molecular genetics, Protein synthesis, Translational regulation

Career Summary
1988: BSc (University of Tokyo)
1993: PhD (University of Tokyo)
1993: Research Associate, JSPS
1994-2002: Assistant Professor (University of Tokyo)
2003-present: Associate Professor (University of Tokyo)
2012: Professor (University of Tokyo)
Educational Activities
Graduate school: Molecular Genetics, Molecular Biology, Structure and Function of Biological Macromolecules
Research Activities
(1) Bacterial, archaeal and eukaryal translation control
(2) Molecular mechanisms of translation termination
(3) Quality control systems for protein synthesis


1) Ito, K., Nakamura, Y.: Genetic interaction between β' subunit of RNA polymerase and arginine-rich domain of E. coli nusA protein. J. Bacteriol., 173:1492-1501 (1991)
2) Ito, K., Oshima, T., Kabayama, H., Nakamura, Y.: Regulation of lysyl-tRNA synthetase expression by histone-like protein H-NS of Escherichia coli. J. Bacteriol., 176:7383-7386 (1994)
3) Ito, K., Ebihara, K., Uno, M., Nakamura, Y.: Conserved motifs of prokaryotic and eukaryotic polypeptide release factors: tRNA-protein mimicry hypothesis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 93:5543-5448 (1996)
4) Ito, K., Uno, M., Nakamura, Y.: Single amino acid substitution in prokaryote polypeptide release factor 2 permits it to terminate translation at all three stop codons. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 95: 8165-8169 (1998)
5) Ito, K., Uno, M., Nakamura, Y.: A tripeptide 'anticodon' deciphers stop codons in messenger RNA. Nature 403: 680-684 (2000)
6) Nakamura, Y., Ito, K.: A tripeptide discriminator for stop codon recognition. FEBS Lett. 514: 30-33 (2002)
7) Nakamura, Y., Ito, K.: Making sense of mimic in translation termination. Trends Biochem. Sci. 28: 99-105 (2003)
8) Watanabe, Y., Nakamura, Y., Ito, K.: A novel class of bacterial translation factor RF3 mutations suggests specific structural domains for premature peptidyl-tRNA drop-off. FEBS Lett., 584 790-794 (2010)
9) Saito K, Kobayashi K, Wada M, Kikuno I, Takusagawa A, Mochizuki M, Uchiumi T, Ishitani R, Nureki O, Ito K: An omnipotent role of archaeal EF1α in translational elongation and termination, and quality control of protein synthesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 107: 17575-17579 (2010)
10) Nakamura Y, Ito K: Advanced Review: tRNA mimicry in translation termination and beyond.WIREs (Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews) RNA, (30 Mar 2011) DOI: 10.1002/wrna.81

Other Activities
Japanese Society of Biochemistry, Japanese Society of Molecular Biology

Future Plan
We are currently investigating translation termination and mRNA quality-control mechanisms in terms of tRNA-protein molecular mimicry. We wish to clarify the higher-order controls for macromolecular synthesis, including those for human diseases, by understanding the basis of the protein synthetic machineries.

Messages to Students
Molecular genetic analysis of unicellular organisms is a powerful tool for bioscience. You will love it.