Faculty / Research

Ken-Ichi Takemaru, Ph.D.

Associate Professor 

 

Ph.D., Graduate University for Advanced Studies, Japan

Postdoctoral, University of Washington

(631) 444-7976  ken-ichi.takemaru@stonybrook.edu
Cell Signaling and Ciliogenesis in Mammalian Development, Health and Disease

Wnt Signaling in Development and Disease

Intracellular signaling by the Wnt family of secreted cysteine-rich glycoproteins plays critical roles in embryonic development and adult homeostasis. This pathway is highly conserved among the animal kingdom. Importantly, perturbations of Wnt signaling have been linked to a range of human diseases. For instance, the best understood canonical Wnt/β-catenin pathway is aberrantly activated in greater than 70 % of colorectal cancers and to a lesser extent in other tumor types, promoting cancer cell proliferation, survival and migration. More recently, this signaling cascade has emerged as a crucial regulator of stem cells. Our laboratory investigates the function of Wnt signaling in the context of development and disease.

Chibby Family Members and Ciliogenesis

Cilia are ancient microtubule-based organelles that protrude from the apical cell surface to perform diverse biological functions, ranging from fluid movement to intracellular signaling. Dysfunctional cilia have been linked to various diseases, collectively known as ciliopathy. We previously reported a β-catenin-associated antagonist Chibby (Cby). Cby is a conserved shuttling protein that blocks transcriptional activation by β-catenin, a key coactivator downstream of canonical Wnt signaling. In our efforts to investigate the physiological function of Cby using Cby-knockout (Cby-/-) mice, we found that these mice suffer from chronic respiratory infections due to a complete absence of mucociliary transport activity. Our studies further uncovered that ciliated cells in the nasal and lung epithelia of Cby-/- mice are poorly differentiated characterized by markedly fewer ciliary projections. Consistent with this phenotype, endogenous Cby protein is highly enriched at the base of cilia, suggesting that Cby plays an essential role in proper formation/function of cilia. In mammals, there are three Cby homologues. Our current research is directed at understanding roles of Cby family members and Wnt/b-catenin signaling in ciliogenesis and ciliated cell differentiation.

A complete list of publications can be found in HERE

Dept. of Pharmacology BST 7-182
Stony Brook, NY 11794-8651
Phone: (631) 444-7976
Fax: (631) 444-3218
E-mail: ken-ichi.takemaru@stonybrook.edu