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Cell Dynamics Research Core
Is responsible for developing technologies to measure intracellular molecular dynamics. These measurements will then be used by the Computation Biology Research Core to model high-level dynamic biological systems. The Cell Dynamics Research Core also aims to create collaborative projects with groups outside of RIKEN for regenerative medicine and other clinical applications.

Cell Dynamics Research Core (Toshio Yanagida)
* Laboratory for Cell Dynamics Observation (Toshio Yanagida)
* Laboratory for Cell Signaling Dynamics (Masahiro Ueda)
* Laboratory for Comprehensive Bioimaging (Tomonobu Watanabe)
* Laboratory for Nano-Bio Probes (Takashi Jin)
* Laboratory for Single Cell Mass Spectrometry (Toshio Yanagida)
* Laboratory for Developmental Dynamics (Shuichi Onami)
* Laboratory for Cell Polarity Regulation(Yasushi Okada)
* Laboratory for Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics(Takanori Kigawa)
* Laboratory for Single Cell Gene Dynamics (Yuichi Taniguchi)
* Laboratory for Cell Field Structure (Atsuko Iwane)
* Laboratory for Reconstitutive Developmental Biology (Miki Ebisuya)
* Laboratory for Integrative Omics (Katsuyuki Shiroguchi)

Methods for measuring cellular dynamics

To understand the fundamental properties of biological molecules like mRNA and proteins, advanced spatial-temporal techniques that can measure their dynamics quantitatively are needed. This includes the ability to detect and image single molecules inside living cells and single cells inside living tissues. Quantifying these dynamics will clarify the complex networks in which these molecules and cell operate, which will then lead to numerical models and simulations that can more accurately predict how these systems (cells and organs) will respond to a perturbation (like a drug). Accurately describing the system behaviour will lead to better understanding of the basic control principles that drive these networks. Below is a list of some of the techniques and technologies the Cell Dynamics Research Core will be pursuing.
Single molecule imaging techniques
Japan is a world leader in the imaging of single biological molecules, having visualized a number of dynamic events like membrane receptor binding and molecular motors in solution. The next challenge is to spatially and temporally observe how such events function inside their natural environment. For this purpose we aim to develop the innovations in lasers, microscopy, and probe technology including:

  • - simultaneous nanometer and millisecond resolutions
  • - 3D imaging of molecules inside living cells and tissues
  • - multicolour imaging for observing multiple molecular interactions simultaneously

These imaging techniques are expected to also allow for the quantitative analysis of a number of intracellular events in response to a stimulus including gene expression, cell polarity and membrane potential, and immunological responses.

Single molecule detection techniques
When combined with single cell manipulation techniques,innovative detection techniques can be used to analyze how different stimuli affect various cellular components.
Examples of these new detection techniques include, nanospray mass spectroscopy that can be used on single cells to reveal the synthesis of various cellular components like metabolites over a given time frame. ; high-sensitivity antibodies for the purpose of detecting specific proteins inside a cell; and high-speed sequencer technology that can quantify gene expression at the single cell level.
Furthermore, using these detection techniques with the aforementioned single molecule imaging, we expect to simultaneously observe intracellular changes and dynamics that will provide a more comprehensive description of cellular activity. Additionally, these techniques will also be able to observe transcription and translation in real-time to detect key mRNA base sequences and protein-protein interactions that occur during given cellular functions.


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Single cell analysis inside live tissues and organs
Perhaps no research field has the therapeutic potential that cell stems have. However, to realize this potential, it must understand the mechanisms that make these cells so versatile and therefore applicable to a wide range of disease. A stem cell's fate comes not only from its unique features, but also how it interacts with its environment. Like all cells, stem cells make up part of a complicated and dynamic network in which each element – the cell itself or components of the cell – is in constant flux. We believe that full clinical application of stem cells can only be realized if we can control and manipulate these complex networks.
By combining our new detection techniques with others methods like single molecule imaging, we expect to measure the dynamics of individual cells within large multi-cellular networks like an organ. Our goal is to reduce a cell to its most basic scale by detecting cells at previously undetectable depths inside the organ and applying observing intracellular gene and protein expressions using 3+1 spatial-temporal dimensions. Not only will such studies clarify the operating principles that drive these dynamics, they will also be the breakthroughs that lead to new life science fields.
Single-Cell Molecular Desighn Techniqueszoom