Two former Departments (Departments of Dental Pharmacology and Biology) were united and renamed as a new Section. We provide undergraduate students with education in biology and pharmacology. We also give lessons related to molecular biology & genomics and molecular & cellular pharmacology to the graduate students.
Current research project
1. Molecular mechanism of apoptosis to preserve genome integrity
Organisms possess several defense mechanisms to ensure the integrity of their genome from DNA damage. The primary mechanism repairs the damage on the genome to suppress mutations. When cells cannot repair DNA lesions properly, the second mechanism eliminates cells carrying DNA damage from the body by inducing apoptosis. Defects of these mechanisms cause various types of genetic diseases, including cancer.
2. The role of apoptosis to suppress mutations and cancer
We have identified MAPO1 as a new component required for the induction of apoptosis triggered by O6-methylguanine. MAPO1 forms a complex with AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and folliculin (FLCN), which is encoded by the BHD tumor suppressor gene. We are currently investigating the roles of the MAPO1 complex in suppression of predisposition to tumors by analyzing Mapo1-knockout mice.
1. Mechanisms of modulation of channel activities in salivary epithelial cells and oral cancer cell-lines, especially focusing on a Ca2+-activated Cl- channel modulator, CLCA (1), a cAMP-activated chloride channel (CFTR) (2) and on a Ca2+-permeable non-specific cation channel, TRPM8.
2. Molecular mechanism of cell-type specific isoform expression (3) in epithelium, dependent on its differentiation status.
3. Mechanisms of reproduction of the stratified squamous epithelium in a three-dimensional reconstruction culture model derived from rat epidermal and oral mucosal cells.