Department of Biological Chemistry

MT_Seika_1 Shogo Oka, Ph.D. Professor

A human body consists of 60 trillion cells. These cells must interact each other and respond to environmental cues to maintain precise human body function as a system. We are trying to understand various biological phenomena operating this system at a molecular level, with a great emphasis on the glycans and lipids, rather neglected classes of molecule in cells. Through our research activities, we would like to develop a diagnosis at super-early stage of disease as our goal on human health. We hope to achieve this goal with mighty young students.

Research and Education

Decoding of the biological signaling information in sugar chains/ lipids
Post-translational modification is the major regulatory mechanism of protein function. Glycosylation is one of such post-translational modifications, functional understanding of which is regarded as next major challenge in the life science at the post-genomic era. To cope with this, we are bound to decode the biological information encoded and hidden in the sugar chains. Cellular lipids also function in cells with rather loose link with genomic information. From evolutional point of view, sugar chains and lipids are less conserved among different animal species thus these molecules could holds the keys to the questions how human was developed. Human health could be achieved from the true understanding of ourselves in both health and disease.

Our ongoing research projects include functional understanding of sugar chains and lipid regulating the nervous system, embryogenesis, immune system as key regulatory factors with considerable emphasis on the signaling aspects of these molecules in health and disease.

Function of neural specific carbohydrate epitope HNK-1

Function of neural specific carbohydrate epitope HNK-1

Lab members

Lab members


1. Nakagawa N, Manya H, Toda T, Endo T, and Oka S. 
Human Natural Killer-1 Sulfotransferase (HNK-1ST)-induced Sulfate Transfer Regulates Laminin-binding Glycans on α-Dystroglycan.
 J. Biol. Chem. 287, 30823-30832 (2012).
2. Kizuka Y and Oka
 S. Regulated expression and neural functions of human natural killer-1 (HNK-1) carbohydrate. Cell Mol. Life Sci. 69, 4135-4147 (2012).
3. Kouno T, Kizuka Y, Nakagawa N, Yoshihara T, Asano M, and Oka
 S. Specific Enzyme Complex of Beta-1, 4-galactosyltransferase-II and GlcAT-P Facilitates Biosynthesis of N-linked HNK-1 Carbohydrate
. J. Biol. Chem. 286, 31337-31346 (2011).
4. Takematsu H, Yamamoto H, Naito-Matsui Y, Fujinawa R, Tanaka K, Okuno Y, Tanaka Y, Kyogashima M, Kannagi R, Kozutsumi Y. Quantitative transcriptomic profiling of branching in a glycosphingolipid biosynthetic pathway J Biol Chem, 286, 27214-27224 (2011).
5. Shimobayashi M, Takematsu H, Eiho K, Yamane Y, Kozutsumi Y. Identification of Ypk1 as a novel selective substrate for nitrogen starvation-triggered proteolysis requiring autophagy system and ESCRT machinery components J Biol Chem.  285, 36984-36994 (2010).


Professor: Shogo Oka Ph.D.
Associate Professor: Hiromu Takematsu, Ph.D.

TEL  075-751-3959(Oka),075-751-3954(Takematsu)
FAX  075-751-3959