Researcher Database

Institute for Genetic Medicine Pathophysiology

Researcher Profile and Settings


  • Institute for Genetic Medicine Pathophysiology

Job Title

  • Professor

Research funding number

  • 10360653

J-Global ID

Research Interests

  • Embryogenesis   Mechanobiology   Cell polarity   

Research Areas

  • Life sciences / Biophysics / Mechanobiology
  • Life sciences / Developmental biology / Embryogenesis
  • Life sciences / Cell biology / Cell polarity

Academic & Professional Experience

  • 2020/10 - Today Institute for Genetic Medicine, Hokkaido University Developmental Physiology Professor
  • 2012/08 - 2021/03 Dept. of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore Assistant Professor
  • 2012/08 - 2021/03 Mechanobiology Institute, National University of Singapore Principle Investigator
  • 2012/08 - 2021/03 Temasek Lifesciences Laboratory Senior Principle Investigator
  • 2007/08 - 2012/07 Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Postdoctoral Researcher
  • 2006/08 - 2007/07 UCSD Postdoctoral Researcher
  • 2002/04 - 2006/07 RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology Postdoctoral Researcher


  • 1997/04 - 2002/03  The University of Tokyo  Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Research Activities

Published Papers

  • Kenji Kimura, Fumio Motegi
    Seminars in cell & developmental biology 2021/07/14 
    The development of complex forms of multicellular organisms depends on the spatial arrangement of cellular architecture and functions. The interior design of the cell is patterned by spatially biased distributions of molecules and biochemical reactions in the cytoplasm and/or on the plasma membrane. In recent years, a dynamic change in the cytoplasmic fluid flow has emerged as a key physical process of driving long-range transport of molecules to particular destinations within the cell. Here, recent experimental advances in the understanding of the generation of the various types of cytoplasmic flows and contributions to intracellular patterning are reviewed with a particular focus on feedback mechanisms between the mechanical properties of fluid flow and biochemical signaling during animal cell polarization.
  • Yen Wei Lim, Fu-Lai Wen, Prabhat Shankar, Tatsuo Shibata, Fumio Motegi
    Cell reports 36 (1) 109326 - 109326 2021/07/06 
    Coordination between cell differentiation and proliferation during development requires the balance between asymmetric and symmetric modes of cell division. However, the cellular intrinsic cue underlying the choice between these two division modes remains elusive. Here, we show evidence in Caenorhabditis elegans that the invariable lineage of the division modes is specified by the balance between antagonizing complexes of partitioning-defective (PAR) proteins. By uncoupling unequal inheritance of PAR proteins from that of fate determinants during cell division, we demonstrate that changes in the balance between PAR-2 and PAR-6 can be sufficient to re-program the division modes from symmetric to asymmetric and vice versa in two daughter cells. The division mode adopted occurs independently of asymmetry in cytoplasmic fate determinants, cell-size asymmetry, and cell-cycle asynchrony between sister cells. We propose that the balance between PAR proteins represents an intrinsic self-organizing cue for the specification of the two division modes during development.
  • Wan Jun Gan, Fumio Motegi
    Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology 8 2021/01/18 
    Cell polarity is the asymmetric organization of cellular components along defined axes. A key requirement for polarization is the ability of the cell to break symmetry and achieve a spatially biased organization. Despite different triggering cues in various systems, symmetry breaking (SB) usually relies on mechanochemical modulation of the actin cytoskeleton, which allows for advected movement and reorganization of cellular components. Here, the mechanisms underlying SB in Caenorhabditis elegans zygote, one of the most popular models to study cell polarity, are reviewed. A zygote initiates SB through the centrosome, which modulates mechanics of the cell cortex to establish advective flow of cortical proteins including the actin cytoskeleton and partitioning defective (PAR) proteins. The chemical signaling underlying centrosomal control of the Aurora A kinase–mediated cascade to convert the organization of the contractile actomyosin network from an apolar to polar state is also discussed.
  • Fumio Motegi, Nicolas Plachta, Virgile Viasnoff
    Current Opinion in Cell Biology 62 78 - 85 0955-0674 2020/02
  • Peng Zhao, Xiang Teng, Sarala Neomi Tantirimudalige, Masatoshi Nishikawa, Thorsten Wohland, Yusuke Toyama, Fumio Motegi
    Developmental Cell 48 (5) 631 - 645.e6 1534-5807 2019/03
  • Ravikrishna Ramanujam, Ziyin Han, Zhen Zhang, Pakorn Kanchanawong, Fumio Motegi
    Nature Chemical Biology 14 (10) 917 - 927 1552-4450 2018/10
  • Sriyash Mangal, Jennifer Sacher, Taekyung Kim, Daniel Sampaio Osório, Fumio Motegi, Ana Xavier Carvalho, Karen Oegema, Esther Zanin
    Journal of Cell Biology 217 (3) 837 - 848 0021-9525 2018/03/05 
    During cytokinesis, a signal from the central spindle that forms between the separating anaphase chromosomes promotes the accumulation of contractile ring components at the cell equator, while a signal from the centrosomal microtubule asters inhibits accumulation of contractile ring components at the cell poles. However, the molecular identity of the inhibitory signal has remained unknown. To identify molecular components of the aster-based inhibitory signal, we developed a means to monitor the removal of contractile ring proteins from the polar cortex after anaphase onset. Using this assay, we show that polar clearing is an active process that requires activation of Aurora A kinase by TPXL-1. TPXL-1 concentrates on astral microtubules coincident with polar clearing in anaphase, and its ability to recruit Aurora A and activate its kinase activity are essential for clearing. In summary, our data identify Aurora A kinase as an aster-based inhibitory signal that restricts contractile ring components to the cell equator during cytokinesis.
  • Zhen Zhang, Yen Wei Lim, Peng Zhao, Pakorn Kanchanawong, Fumio Motegi
    Journal of Cell Science 130 (24) 4200 - 4212 0021-9533 2017/12/15
  • Ravikrishna Ramanujam, Tricia Yu Feng Low, Yen Wei Lim, Fumio Motegi
    Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology 71 129 - 136 1084-9521 2017/11
  • Shyi-Chyi Wang, Tricia Yu Feng Low, Yukako Nishimura, Laurent Gole, Weimiao Yu, Fumio Motegi
    Nature Cell Biology 19 (8) 988 - 995 1465-7392 2017/08 
    Cell polarization enables zygotes to acquire spatial asymmetry, which in turn patterns cellular and tissue axes during development. Local modification in the actomyosin cytoskeleton mediates spatial segregation of partitioning-defective (PAR) proteins at the cortex, but how mechanical changes in the cytoskeleton are transmitted to PAR proteins remains elusive. Here we uncover a role of actomyosin contractility in the remodelling of PAR proteins through cortical clustering. During embryonic polarization in Caenorhabditis elegans, actomyosin contractility and the resultant cortical tension stimulate clustering of PAR-3 at the cortex. Clustering of atypical protein kinase C (aPKC) is supported by PAR-3 clusters and is antagonized by activation of CDC-42. Cortical clustering is associated with retardation of PAR protein exchange at the cortex and with effective entrainment of advective cortical flows. Our findings delineate how cytoskeleton contractility couples the cortical clustering and long-range displacement of PAR proteins during polarization. The principles described here would apply to other pattern formation processes that rely on local modification of cortical actomyosin and PAR proteins.
  • Yukinobu Arata, Michio Hiroshima, Chan-Gi Pack, Ravikrishna Ramanujam, Fumio Motegi, Kenichi Nakazato, Yuki Shindo, Paul W. Wiseman, Hitoshi Sawa, Tetsuya J. Kobayashi, Hugo B. Brandão, Tatsuo Shibata, Yasushi Sako
    Cell Reports 17 (1) 316 - 316 2211-1247 2016/09
  • Yukinobu Arata, Michio Hiroshima, Chan-Gi Pack, Ravikrishna Ramanujam, Fumio Motegi, Kenichi Nakazato, Yuki Shindo, Paul W Wiseman, Hitoshi Sawa, Tetsuya J Kobayashi, Hugo B Brandão, Tatsuo Shibata, Yasushi Sako
    Cell reports 16 (8) 2156 - 2168 2016/08/23 
    Cell polarity arises through the spatial segregation of polarity regulators. PAR proteins are polarity regulators that localize asymmetrically to two opposing cortical domains. However, it is unclear how the spatially segregated PAR proteins interact to maintain their mutually exclusive partitioning. Here, single-molecule detection analysis in Caenorhabditis elegans embryos reveals that cortical PAR-2 diffuses only short distances, and, as a result, most PAR-2 molecules associate and dissociate from the cortex without crossing into the opposing domain. Our results show that cortical PAR-2 asymmetry is maintained by the local exchange reactions that occur at the cortical-cytoplasmic boundary. Additionally, we demonstrate that local exchange reactions are sufficient to maintain cortical asymmetry in a parameter-free mathematical model. These findings suggest that anterior and posterior PAR proteins primarily interact through the cytoplasmic pool and not via cortical diffusion.
  • Fumio Motegi, Geraldine Seydoux
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 368 (1629) 20130010 - 20130010 0962-8436 2013/11/05 
    To become polarized, cells must first ‘break symmetry’. Symmetry breaking is the process by which an unpolarized, symmetric cell develops a singularity, often at the cell periphery, that is used to develop a polarity axis. The Caenorhabditis elegans zygote breaks symmetry under the influence of the sperm-donated centrosome, which causes the PAR polarity regulators to sort into distinct anterior and posterior cortical domains. Modelling analyses have shown that cortical flows induced by the centrosome combined with antagonism between anterior and posterior PARs (mutual exclusion) are sufficient, in principle, to break symmetry, provided that anterior and posterior PAR activities are precisely balanced. Experimental evidence indicates, however, that the system is surprisingly robust to changes in cortical flows, mutual exclusion and PAR balance. We suggest that this robustness derives from redundant symmetry-breaking inputs that engage two positive feedback loops mediated by the anterior and posterior PAR proteins. In particular, the PAR-2 feedback loop stabilizes the polarized state by creating a domain where posterior PARs are immune to exclusion by anterior PARs. The two feedback loops in the PAR network share characteristics with the two feedback loops in the Cdc42 polarization network of Saccharomyces cerevisiae .
  • Microtubules induce self-organization of polarized PAR domains in Caenorhabditis elegans zygotes
    Fumio Motegi, Seth Zonies, Yingsong Hao, Adrian A Cuenca, Erik Griffin, Geraldine Seydoux
    Nature Cell Biology 13 (11) 1361 - 1367 2011/10 [Refereed]
  • Shinji Ihara, Elliott J. Hagedorn, Meghan A. Morrissey, Qiuyi Chi, Fumio Motegi, James M. Kramer, David R. Sherwood
    Nature Cell Biology 13 (6) 641 - 651 1465-7392 2011/06
  • C. M. Gallo, J. T. Wang, F. Motegi, G. Seydoux
    Science 330 (6011) 1685 - 1689 0036-8075 2010/12/17
  • Caenorhabditis elegans ortholog of the p24/p22 subunit, DNC-3, is essential for the formation of the dynactin complex by bridging DNC-1/p150(Glued) and DNC-2/dynamitin
    Masahiro Terasawa, Mika Toya, Fumio Motegi, Miyeko Mana, Kuniaki Nakamura, Asako Sugimoto
    Genes to Cells 15 (11) 1145 - 1157 2010/11
  • S. Zonies, F. Motegi, Y. Hao, G. Seydoux
    Development 137 (10) 1669 - 1677 0950-1991 2010/05/15
  • R. Gassmann, A. Essex, J.-S. Hu, P. S. Maddox, F. Motegi, A. Sugimoto, S. M. O'Rourke, B. Bowerman, I. McLeod, J. R. Yates, K. Oegema, I. M. Cheeseman, A. Desai
    Genes & Development 22 (17) 2385 - 2399 0890-9369 2008/09/01
  • Revisiting the role of microtubules in C. elegans polarity.
    Motegi F, Seydoux G
    Journal of Cell Biology 179 (3) 367 - 369 2007/11
  • Function of microtubules at the onset of cytokinesis
    Fumio Motegi, Asako Sugimoto
    Tanpakusitu Kakusan Koso 51 1590 - 1595 2006/09
  • Fumio Motegi, Asako Sugimoto
    Nature Cell Biology 8 (9) 978 - 985 1465-7392 2006/09
  • Cell polarization: lessons from C. elegans asymmetric cell division
    Fumio Motegi, Asako Sugimoto
    Tanpakushitsu Kakusan Koso 51 776 - 781 2006/05
  • Two phases of astral microtubule activity during cytokinesis in C. elegans embryos
    Motegi F, Velarde NV, Piano F, Sugimoto A
    Developmental Cell 10 (4) 509 - 520 2006/04
  • Fumio Motegi, Mithilesh Mishra, Mohan K. Balasubramanian, Issei Mabuchi
    Journal of Cell Biology 165 (5) 685 - 695 0021-9525 2004/06/07 
    Cytokinesis in many eukaryotes requires an actomyosin contractile ring. Here, we show that in fission yeast the myosin-II heavy chain Myo2 initially accumulates at the division site via its COOH-terminal 134 amino acids independently of F-actin. The COOH-terminal region can access to the division site at early G2, whereas intact Myo2 does so at early mitosis. Ser1444 in the Myo2 COOH-terminal region is a phosphorylation site that is dephosphorylated during early mitosis. Myo2 S1444A prematurely accumulates at the future division site and promotes formation of an F-actin ring even during interphase. The accumulation of Myo2 requires the anillin homologue Mid1 that functions in proper ring placement. Myo2 interacts with Mid1 in cell lysates, and this interaction is inhibited by an S1444D mutation in Myo2. Our results suggest that dephosphorylation of Myo2 liberates the COOH-terminal region from an intramolecular inhibition. Subsequently, dephosphorylated Myo2 is anchored by Mid1 at the medial cortex and promotes the ring assembly in cooperation with F-actin.
  • Kelvin C.Y. Wong, Ventris M. D'souza, Naweed I. Naqvi, Fumio Motegi, Issei Mabuchi, Mohan K. Balasubramanian
    Current Biology 12 (9) 724 - 729 0960-9822 2002/04
  • Contractile ring formation in Xenopus egg and fission yeast
    Noguchi T, Arai R, Motegi F, Nakano K, Mabuchi I
    Cell Structure and Function 26 (6) 545 - 554 2001/12
  • Identification of two type V myosins in fission yeast, one of which functions in polarized cell growth and moves rapidly in the cell.
    Motegi F, Arai R, Mabuchi I
    Molecular Biology of the Cell 12 (5) 1367 - 1380 2001/05
  • Identification and functional analysis of the gene for type I myosin in fission yeast
    Toya M, Motegi F, Nakano K, Mabuchi I, Yamamoto M
    Genes to Cells 62 (3) 187 - 199 2001/03
  • The S. pombe rlc1 gene encodes a putative myosin regulatory light chain that binds the type II myosins myo3p and myo2p
    Le Goff, Motegi F, Salimova E, Mabuchi I, Simanis V
    113 4157 - 4163 2000/12
  • Molecular mechanism of myosin-II assembly at the division site in Schizosaccharomyces pombe
    F Motegi, K Nakano, I Mabuchi
    Journal of Cell Science 113 1813 - 1825 2000/05
  • Masako Suda, Mikiko Fukui, Yuki Sogabe, Kazuhito Sato, Akeshi Morimatsu, Ritsuko Arai, Fumio Motegi, Tokichi Miyakawa, Issei Mabuchi, Dai Hirata
    Genes to Cells 4 (9) 517 - 527 1356-9597 1999/09
  • Fumio Motegi, Kentaro Nakano, Chikako Kitayama, Masayuki Yamamoto, Issei Mabuchi
    FEBS Letters 420 (2-3) 161 - 166 0014-5793 1997/12/29

Books etc

  • ラボレポート独立編: 在新加坡的自立門户之路: シンガポールで独立してみた
    実験医学 2019/06

Awards & Honors

  • 2012 Singapore National Research Foundation Singapore National Research Foundation Fellowship
  • 2010/05 Japan Society for Cell Biology Young Scientist Best Presentation Award

Educational Activities

Teaching Experience

  • Introduction to Basic Biological Chemistry
    開講年度 : 2021
    課程区分 : 修士課程
    開講学部 : 総合化学院
    キーワード : 細胞増殖と分化、遺伝子発現、エピジェネティクス、がん遺伝子、免疫、感染症、細胞非対称性
  • Inter-Graduate School Classes(General Subject):Natural and Applied Sciences
    開講年度 : 2021
    課程区分 : 修士課程
    開講学部 : 大学院共通科目
    キーワード : 細胞増殖と分化、遺伝子発現、エピジェネティクス、がん遺伝子、免疫、感染症、細胞非対称性
  • Biochemistry A (II)
    開講年度 : 2021
    課程区分 : 修士課程
    開講学部 : 総合化学院
    キーワード : シグナル伝達、遺伝子異常、細胞の形態形成、生体防御、病気の分子メカニズム、免疫学、基礎医学、感染、癌、論文作製のテクニック、細胞生物学的・分子生物学的・免疫学的実験手法
  • Modern Trends in Chemical Sciences and Engineering II
    開講年度 : 2021
    課程区分 : 博士後期課程
    開講学部 : 総合化学院
    キーワード : 細胞増殖と分化、遺伝子発現、エピジェネティクス、がん遺伝子、免疫、感染症、細胞非対称性

Campus Position History

  • 2022年4月1日 

Position History

  • 2022年4月1日 

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