Junji Hirota
Junji Hirota

Associate Professor
Center for Biological Resources and Informatics/Department of Bioengineering
PhD 1995, Tokyo Institute of Technology
E-mail: jhirota(at)bio.titech.ac.jp
Office: Room 201, B1B2-C building, Suzukakedai campus

Areas of Research: Molecular Neuroscience and Genetics, Gene Regulation, Chromosome Engineering

Keywords: Olfaction, Sensory Neuron, Transgenesis, Artificial Chromosome.

Research interest:

 The olfactory system of mammals is capable of detecting millions of different types of chemicals in the environment. Olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs), the primary sensory neurons in the olfactory system, initiate the sense of smell by detecting odorants through odorant receptors (ORs). These ORs are G-protein coupled receptors with a putative seven-transmembrane domain structure and belong to the largest gene superfamily present in any genome analyzed so far. In mouse, ~1400 OR genes have been identified from the genomic sequence. According to the phylogenetic analysis, odorant receptor (OR) genes can be classified into two types: fish-like class I OR genes and terrestrial-specific class II OR genes. Class I ORs are phylogenetically more ancient and resemble the family of ORs first reported in fish. There are ~155 Class I OR genes in the mouse genome, all of which are located in a single cluster on Chromosome 7. By contrast, Class II OR genes, the terrestrial-specific OR genes, are distributed throughout the mouse genome. An OSN most likely expresses a single functional allele of a single OR gene from a large repertoire of receptor genes. This unique mode of gene expression is similar to the antigen receptor gene expression in the immune system, but the mechanisms underlying this feature of 'singular' OR gene expression are not understood. Our research team is working on this issue using mouse genetics and bio-imaging techniques.

Selected publications

  1. Skn-1a/Pou2f3 is required for the generation of Trpm5-expressing microvillous cells in the mouse main olfactory epithelium
    Tatsuya Yamaguchi, Junpei Yamashita, Makoto Ohmoto, Imad Aoudé, Tatsuya Ogura, Wangmei Luo, Alexander A Bachmanov, Weihong Lin, Ichiro Matsumoto and Junji Hirota
    BMC Neuroscience (2014), 15:13, DOI: 10.1186/1471-2202-15-13
  2. Pou2f3/Skn-1a is necessary for the generation or differentiation of solitary chemosensory cells in the anterior nasal cavity
    Makoto Ohmoto, Tatsuya Yamaguchi, Junpei Yamashita, Alexander A Bachmanov, Junji Hirota and Ichiro Matsumoto
    Bioscience Biotechnology and Biochemistry (2013), 77(10), 2154-2156
  3. Bacillus subtilis genome vector-based complete manipulation and reconstruction of genomic DNA for mouse transgenesis
    Tetsuo Iwata, Shinya Kaneko, Yuh Shiwa, Takayuki Enomoto, Hirofumi Yoshikawa and Junji Hirota
    BMC Genomics (2013) 14:300, doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-300
  4. Bcl11b/Ctip2 controls the differentiation of vomeronasal sensory neurons in mice
    Takayuki Enomoto, Makoto Ohmoto, Tetsuo Iwata, Ayako Uno, Masato Saitou, Tatsuya Yamaguchi, Ryo Kominami, Ichiro Matsumoto and Junji Hirota*
    Journal of Neuroscience (2011), 31(28), 10159-10173
  5. Differential impact of Lhx2 deficiency on expression of class I and class II odorant receptor genes in mouse
    Junji Hirota, Masayo Omura and Peter Mombaerts
    Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience (2007), 34, 679-688
  6. The promoter of the mouse odorant receptor gene M71
    Andrea Rothman, Paul Feinstein, Junji Hirota and Peter Mombaerts
    Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience (2005), 28, 535-548
  7. The LIM-homeodomain protein Lhx2 is required for complete development of mouse olfactory sensory neurons
    Junji Hirota and Peter Mombaerts
    Proceeding of National Academy of Science, USA (2004), 101, 8751-8755
  8. Targeting a complex transcriptome: The construction of the mouse full-length cDNA encyclopedia
    Piero Carninci, Kazunori Waki, Toshiyuki Shiraki, Hideaki Konno, Kazuhiro Shibata, Masayoshi Itoh, Katsunori Aizawa, Takahiro Arakawa, Yoshiyuki Ishii, Daisuke Sasaki, Hidemasa Bono, Shinji Kondo, Yuichi Sugahara, Rintaro Saito, Naoki Osato, Shiro Fukuda, Kenjiro Sato, Akira Watahiki, Tomoko Hirozane-Kishikawa, Mari Nakamura, Yuko Shibata, Ayako Yasunishi, Noriko Kikuchi, Atsushi Yoshiki, Moriaki Kusakabe, Stefano Gustincich, Kirk Beisel, William Pavan, Vassilis Aidinis, Akira Nakagawara, William A. Held, Hiroo Iwata, Tomohiro Kono, Hiromitsu Nakauchi, Paul Lyons, Christine Wells, David A. Hume, Michela Fagiolini, Takao K. Hensch, Michelle Brinkmeier, Sally Camper, Junji Hirota, Peter Mombaerts, Masami Muramatsu, Yasushi Okazaki, Jun Kawai and Yoshihide Hayashizaki
    Genome Research (2003), 13(6B), 1273-1289
  9. Combinatorial coexpression of neural and immune multigene families in mouse vomeronasal sensory neurons
    Tomohiro Ishii, Junji Hirota and
    Current Biology, (2003), 13, 394-400
  10. Carbonic anhydrase-related protein is a novel binding protein for inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor type 1
    Junji Hirota, Hideaki Ando, Kozo Hamada and Katsuhiko Mikoshiba
    Biochemical Journal, (2003), 372, 435-441
  11. Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor type 1, a newly identified substrate for caspase-3, is cleaved by caspase-3 during apoptosis
    Junji Hirota, Teiichi Furuichi and Katsuhiko Mikoshiba
    Journal of Biological Chemistry, (1999) 274, 34433-34437
  12. Calmodulin mediates calcium-dependent inactivation of the cerebellar type 1 inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor
    Takayuki Michikawa, Junji Hirota, Seiko Kawano, Masayasu Hiraoka, Maki Yamada, Teiichi Furuichi and Katsuhiko Mikoshiba
    Neuron (1999) 23, 799-808

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