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Laboratory for Cardiovascular Molecular Dynamics

Atsuo Kawahara


Research Unit Leader

Atsuo Kawahara (Ph.D.)


The cardiovascular system consists of the heart and blood vessels and is established in early embryogenesis. Impairment of the cardiovascular system is the leading cause of death in most industrial countries. Therefore, elucidating the molecular mechanism for cardiovascular function is indispensable both for understanding its development and for the development of new therapies and drugs. Our research group is using fluorescent proteins to conduct functional analysis of mutant zebrafish with defective cardiovascular systems by visualizing the cardiovascular formation. Using the information gained from these studies, we are examining whether the molecular function of key cardiovascular regulators identified in zebrafish are conserved in mammals including humans.

Research Topics

  • Functional analysis of zebrafish mutants defective in cardiovascular development
  • Functional characterization of key regulators involved in cardiovascular system
  • Measuring molecular dynamics and in vivo imaging of cardiovascular regulators

Selected Publications

  • Hisano, Y., Ota, S., Takada, S., Kawahara, A.
    Functional cooperation of spns2 and fibronectin in cardiac and lower jaw development.
    Biol Open. 2(8):789-794. (2013)
  • Ota, S., Hisano, Y., Muraki, M., Hoshijima, K., Dahlem, T.J., Grunwald, D.J., Okada, Y., Kawahara, A.
    Efficient identification of TALEN-mediated genome modifications using heteroduplex mobility assays.
    Genes to Cells 18(6):450-458 (2013)
  • Hisano, Y., Ota, S., Arakawa, K., Muraki, M., Kono, N., Oshita, K., Sakuma, T., Tomita, M., Yamamoto, T., Okada, Y., Kawahara, A.
    Quantitative assay for TALEN activity at endogenous genomic loci.
    Biology Open 2(4):363-367 (2013)
  • Hisano, Y., Nishi, T., Kawahara, A.
    The functional roles of sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) in immunity.
    The Journal of Biochemistry 152:305-311 (2012)
  • Kawahara, A., Endo, S., Dawid, I.B.
    Vap (Vascular Associated Protein): a novel factor involved in erythropoiesis and angiogenesis.
    Biochem. Biophy. Res. Commun. 421:367-374 (2012)
  • Kitaguchi T., Kawakami, K., Kawahara, A.
    Transcriptional regulation of a myeloid-lineage specific gene lysozyme C during zebrafish myelopoiesis.
    Mechanisms of Development 126:314-323 (2009)
  • Fukui, H., Hanaoka, R., Kawahara, A.
    Non-canonical activity of Seryl-tRNA synthetase is involved in vascular development.
    Circulation Research 104:1253-1259 (2009)
  • Kawahara, A., Nishi, T., Hisano, Y., Fukui, H., Yamaguchi, A., Mochizuki, N.
    The sphingolipid transporter Spns2 functions in migration of zebrafish myocardial precursors.
    Science 323:524-527 (2009)
  • Kawahara, A., Stainier, D.Y.R.
    Noncanonical activity of Seryl-tRNA synthetase and vascular development.
    Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine 19:179-182 (2009)
  • Kawahara, A.
    Genetic dissection of cardiac progenitor migration.
    Inflammation and Regeneration 29:324-328 (2009)