Research Units

RNA Biology

Recent advances in RNA/DNA sequencing and genome-wide microarray technologies have revealed that transcription is widespread throughout the eukaryotic genomes, generating a large number of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). NcRNAs are defined as RNAs with no significant protein-coding capacity. Expression of ncRNAs is in some cases regulated developmentally and tissue-specifically. We are analyzing biological roles of ncRNAs in a wide range of cellular reactions, such as pre-mRNA splicing, nuclear structure formation, chromatin remodeling and genome stability, using fission yeast and cultured mammalian cells. NcRNAs can be categorized into two groups; short ncRNA, such as miRNAs and piRNAs, typically 20-200 bases in length, and long ncRNAs (lncRNA), such as satellite lncRNAs, ranging from ~200 bases to 100 kb in length. We have recently revealed that satellite lncRNAs transcribed from the centromere regions have essential roles in chromosome segregation, and suggested that these lncRNAs are promising targets for anti-cancer drugs. A new paradigm of “ncRNA regulation” is now emerging.

Figure legend: Visualization of satellite I lncRNA in the nucleus of human cultured cell. Satellite I lncRNA was found to be enriched at the centromere (Green: satellite I lncRNA, Red: centromere, Blue: DNA).

RNA Biology

Unit members

  • Japan
    Unit coordinator
    Tokio TANI Website
    Professor, Faculty of Advanced Science and Technology, Kumamoto University
  • Switzerland
    Ramesh Shanmughom PILLAI Website
    Professor, Department of Molecular Biology, University of Geneva
  • Japan
    Takashi IDEUE Website
    Assistant Professor, Faculty of Advanced Science and Technology, Kumamoto University


"Sequestration of RBM10 in Nuclear Bodies: Targeting Sequences and Biological Significance"
Ling-Yu Wang, Sheng-Jun Xiao, Hiroyuki Kunimoto, Kazuaki Tokunaga, Hirotada Kojima, Masatsugu Kimura, Takahiro Yamamoto, Naoki Yamamoto, Hong Zhao, Koji Nishio, Tokio TaniKoichi Nakajima, Kishiko Sunami, Akira Inoue.
Int. J. Molecular Science, 2021, 22(19), 10526;

KAKENHI and other external grants

  • KAKENHI: Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B) (3,200,000 yen)
  • Other external grants:  HIGIN Gap Grant (3,000,000 yen)


  • Acquisition Patent 6744926: Novel plant growth inhibitor Kumamonamide


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