Akihiro Ikeda




Medical Genetics
Identifying genes involved in aging, cell proliferation and neovascularization using mouse genetics

5322 Genetics/Biotech
Ph.D., University of Tokyo (1997), Postdoctoral Research: The Jackson Laboratory, 1997-2003
Medical Genetics
Research Interests
Our laboratory aims to identify genes involved in aging, cell proliferation and neovascularization using mouse genetics as a tool
Research Fields
Disease Biology Cell Biology, Gene Expression, Neuro & Behavioral Genetics, Human, mouse & rat

Research Description:
Our research program is divided into two broad areas aimed at understanding the genetic and molecular mechanisms that regulate (1) aging of the neural tissue and (2) control of cell proliferation. Both processes involve fundamental biological questions that remain to be solved and both have important connections with human disease. The experimental system for most of our studies is the mouse eye, which offers a number of advantages: The eye is not a vital organ so mutations affecting the processes of interest can be identified and studied throughout the entire span of development. The well-organized structure and easy accessibility of the eye facilitate experimental analyses. At the same time, because the cells present in the eye (e. g. epithelial cells, neurons) are representative of cell types present in other organs, information gained from studies on the eye can reveal cellular mechanisms of general significance. In general, our studies utilize a forward genetic approach, beginning with mutants that manifest phenotypes of interest. A major advantage of this phenotype-driven approach is that it offers the potential of identifying previously unknown genes and molecular pathways that regulate a process of interest. After a gene/protein of interest has been identified, we aim to unravel the pathway by which it normally acts whose disruption results in the observed phenotype. One major approach we use in dissecting these pathways is to identify genetic modifiers that interact with the original mutation indicating that they are likely to be affecting other components in the same pathway. In this way, we can expand beyond the original mutation to obtain additional entry points into the same pathway and allow a more complete understanding of the molecular pathways that underlie the phenotypes under investigation.

Over the past years, we have used these approaches to identify and characterize several genes of interest and to begin to elucidate the pathways through which they operate. Our immediate future goals are to obtain a more detailed understanding of these pathways to advance our understanding of the mechanisms that regulate neuronal aging and cell proliferation.

Representative Publications:
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Lee WH, Higuchi H, Ikeda S, Macke EL, Takimoto T, Pattnaik BR, Liu C, Chu LF, Siepka SM, Krentz KJ, Rubinstein CD, Kalejta RF, Thomson JA, Mullins RF, Takahashi JS, Pinto LH, Ikeda A. 2016. Mouse Tmem135 mutation reveals a mechanism involving mitochondrial dynamics that leads to age-dependent retinal pathologies. eLife. doi: 10.7554/eLife.19264

Higuchi H, Macke EL, Lee WH, Miller SA, Xu JC, Ikeda S, Ikeda A. 2015. Genetic basis of age-dependent synaptic abnormalities in the retina. Mamm Genome. 26:21-32.

Kawakami-Schulz SV, Verdoni AM, Sattler SG, Jessen E, Kao WW, Ikeda A, Ikeda S. 2014. Serum response factor: positive and negative regulation of an epithelial gene expression network in the destrin mutant cornea. Physiol Genomics. 46:277-289.

Kawakami-Schulz SV, Sattler SG, Doebley AL, Ikeda A, Ikeda S. 2013. Genetic modification of corneal neovascularization in Dstncorn1 mice. Mamm Genome. 24:349-357.

Johnson BA, Cole BS, Geisert EE, Ikeda S, Ikeda A. 2010. Tyrosinase is the modifier of retinoschisis in mice. Genetics 186:1337-1344.