In our laboratory we use the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, the simplest organism that performs meiosis,
to research the mechanism by which cells switch from mitosis,
the kind of cell division that divides cells equally to create two identical cells, to meiosis,
which is essential for bringing forth genetically diverse progeny.

Life cycle

Signaling pathways that regulate the onset of sexual differentiation

We have been trying to elucidate how fission yeast cells switch their mode of cell cycle from mitotic to meiotic.
We focus on a highly conserved kinase, namely Target of rapamycin (TOR) kinase,
which plays key roles in the recognition of nutrition and the onset of sexual differentiation in fission yeast.


The molecular mechanisms that establish the meiosis-specific transcription profile

Expression of hundreds of genes is upregulated during meiosis. We have shown that specific control of the stability of meiotic transcripts,
which is orchestrated by the interplay between RNA-binding proteins and a long non-coding RNA,
contributes to the meiosis-specific gene expression in fission yeast.
Understanding precise mechanisms of this control will shed light on the regulation of timely gene expression during meiosis.

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Original Paper


Ohtsuka, H., Hatta, Y., Hayashi, K., Shimasaki, T., Otsubo, Y., Ito, Y., Tsutui, Y., Hattori, N., Yamashita, A., Murakami, H., and Aiba, H.(2021).
Cdc13 (cyclin B) is degraded by autophagy under sulfur depletion in fission yeast.
Autophagy Reports 1, 51-64.


Ohtsuka, H., Kobayashi, M., Shimasaki, T., Sato, T., Akanuma, G., Kitaura, Y., Otsubo, Y., Yamashita, A., and Aiba, H.(2021).
Magnesium depletion extends fission yeast lifespan via general amino acid control activation.
MicrobiologyOpen 10, e1176.


Lee, S. Y., Hung, S., Esnault, C., Pathak, R., Johnson, K., Bankole, O., Yamashita, A., Zhang, H., and Levin, H. (2020).
Dense Transposon Integration Reveals Essential Cleavage and Polyadenylation Factors Promote Heterochromatin Formation.
Cell Reports 30, 2686–2698.

Shichino, Y., Otsubo, Y., Yamamoto., M., and Yamashita, A. (2020).
Meiotic gene silencing complex MTREC/NURS recruits the nuclear exosome to YTH-RNA-binding protein Mmi1.
Plos Genetics 16, e1008598.


Yoshimura, S., Aramaki, M., Otsubo, Y., Yamashita, A., and Koga, K. (2019).
Controlling feeding gas temperature of plasma jet with Peltier device for experiments with fission yeast.
Japanese Journal of Applied Physics 58, SEEG03.


Shichino, Y., Otsubo, Y., Kimori, Y., Yamamoto., M., and Yamashita, A. (2018).
YTH-RNA-binding protein prevents deleterious expression of meiotic proteins by tethering their mRNAs to nuclear foci.
eLife 7, e32155.

Otsubo, Y., Matsuo, T., Nishimura, A., Yamamoto., M., and Yamashita, A. (2018).
tRNA production links nutrient conditions to the onset of sexual differentiation through the TORC1 pathway.
EMBO Reports 19, e44867.


Touat-Todeschini, L., Shichino, Y., Dangin, M., Thierry-Mieg, N., Gliquin, B., Hiriart, E., Sachidanandam, R., Lambert, E., Brettschneider, J., Reuter, M., Kadlec, J., Pillai R., Yamashita, A., Yamamoto., M., and Verdel, A. (2017).
Selective termination of lncRNA transcription promotes epigenetic silencing and cell differentiation.
EMBO Journal 36, 2626-2641.


Cotobal, C., Rodríguez-López, M., Duncan, C., Hasan, A., Yamashita, A., Yamamoto, M., Bähler, J. and Mata, J. (2015).
Role of Ccr4-Not complex in heterochromatin formation at meiotic genes and subtelomeres in fission yeast.
Epigenetics & Chromatin 8, 28.

Fujita, I., Yamashita, A., and Yamamoto, M. (2015)
Dynactin and Num1 cooperate to establish the cortical anchoring of cytoplasmic dynein in S. pombe.
Journal of Cell Science 128, 1555-1567.


Arata, M., Sato, M., Yamashita, A., and Yamamoto, M. (2014).
The RNA-binding protein Spo5 promotes meiosis II by regulating cyclin Cdc13 in fission yeast.
Genes to Cells 19, 225-238.

Otsubo, Y.*, Yamashita, A.*,Ohno, H., and Yamamoto, M. (2014).
S. pombe TORC1 activates the ubiquitin-proteasomal degradation of the meiotic regulator Mei2 in cooperation with Pat1 kinase.
Journal of Cell Science 127, 2639-2646. (*contributed equally)

Shichino, Y., Yamashita, A., and Yamamoto, M. (2014).
Meiotic long non-coding meiRNA accumulates as a dot at its genetic locus facilitated by Mmi1 and plays as a decoy to lure Mmi1.
Open Biology 4, 140022.

Togashi, N., Yamashita, A., Sato, M., and Yamamoto, M. (2014).
Functional significance of nuclear export and mRNA binding of meiotic regulator Spo5 in fission yeast.
BMC Microbiology 14, 188.


Yamashita, A., Takayama, T., Iwata, R. and Yamamoto, M. (2013).
A novel factor Iss10 regulates Mmi1-mediated selective elimination of meiotic transcripts.
Nucleic Acids Research 41, 9680-9687.

Yamashita, A., Fujita, Y. and Yamamoto, M. (2013).
Proper microtubule structure is vital for timely progression through meiosis in fission yeast.
Plos One 8, e65082.

Aoi, Y., Arai, K., Miyamoto, M., Katsuta, Y., Yamashita, A., Sato, M. and Yamamoto, M. (2013).
Cuf2 boosts the transcription of APC/C activator Fzr1 to terminate the meiotic division cycle.
EMBO Reports 14, 553-560.

Nakase, Y., Nakase, M., Kashiwazaki, J., Murai, T., Otsubo, Y., Mabuchi, I., Yamamoto, M., Takegawa, K. and Matsumoto, T. (2013).
Fission yeast Any1, β-arrestin-like protein, is involved in TSC-Rheb signaling and the regulation of amino acid transporters.
Journal of Cell Science 126, 3972-3981.


Nakashima, A., Otsubo, Y., Yamashita, A., Sato, T., Yamamoto, M. and Tamanoi, F. (2012).
Psk1, an AGC kinase family member in fission yeast, is directly phosphorylated and controlled by TORC1 as S6 kinase.
Journal of Cell Science 125, 5840-5849.

Hiriart, E., Vavasseur, A., Touat-Todeschini L., Yamashita, A., Gilquin, B., Lambert, E., Perot, J., Shichino, Y., Nazaret, N., Boyault, C., Lachuer, J., Perazza, D., Yamamoto, M. and Verdel, A. (2012).
Mmi1 RNA surveillance machinery directs RNAi complex RITS to specific meiotic genes in fission yeast.
EMBO Journal 31, 2296-2308.

Yamashita A., Shichino Y., Tanaka H., Hiriart E., Touat-Todeschini L., Vavasseur A., Ding D-Q., Hiraoka Y., Verdexl A., Yamamoto M. (2012).
Hexanucleotide motifs mediate recruitment of the RNA elimination machinery to silent meiotic genes.
Open Biology 2, 120014.


Sukegawa, Y., Yamashita, A. and Yamamoto, M. (2011).
The fission yeast stress-responsive MAPK pathway promotes meiosis via the phosphorylation of pol II CTD in response to enviromental and feedback cues.
Plos Genetics 7, e1002387.


Fujita, I., Yamashita, A., and Yamoto, M. (2010).
Contribution of dynein light intermediate and intermediate chains to subcellular localization of the dynein-dynactin motor complex in Schizosaccharomyces pombe.
Genes to Cells 15, 359-372.

~2009 selected

Matsuo, T., Otsubo, Y., Urano, J., Tamanoi, F. and Yamamoto, M. (2007).
Loss of the TOR kinase Tor2 mimics nitrogen starvation and activates the sexual development pathway in fission yeast.
Molecular and Cellular Biology 27, 3154–64.

Yamashita, A., and Yamamoto, M. (2006).
Fission yeast Num1p is a cortical factor anchoring dynein and is essential for the horse-tail nuclear movement during meiotic prophase.
Genetics 173, 1187-119

Harigaya, Y., Tanaka, H., Yamanaka, S., Tanaka, K., Watanabe, Y., Tsutsumi, C., Chikashige, Y., Hiraoka, Y., Yamashita, A., and Yamamoto, M. (2006).
Selective elimination of messenger RNA prevents an incidence of untimely meiosis.
Nature 442, 45-50.

Yamashita, A.*, Sato, M.*, Fujita, A., Yamamoto, M., and Toda, T. (2005).
The roles of fission yeast Ase1 in mitotic cell division, meiotic nuclear oscillation, and cytokinesis checkpoint signaling.
Molecular Biology of the Cell 16, 1378-1395. (*contributed equally)

Izawa, D., Goto, M., Yamashita, A., Yamano, H., and Yamamoto, M. (2005).
Fission yeast Mes1p ensures the onset of meiosis II by blocking degradation of cyclin Cdc13p.
Nature 434, 529-533.

Niccoli, T.*, Yamashita, A.*, Nurse, P., and Yamamoto, M. (2004).
The p150-Glued Ssm4p regulates microtubular dynamics and nuclear movement in fission yeast.
Journal of Cell Science 117, 5543-5556. (*contributed equally)

Shimada, T., Yamashita, A., and Yamamoto, M. (2003).
The fission yeast meiotic regulator Mei2p forms a dot structure in the horse-tail nucleus in association with the sme2 locus on chromosome II.
Molecular Biology of the Cell 14, 2461-2469.

Yamashita, A., Watanabe, Y., Nukina, N., and Yamamoto, M. (1998).
RNA-assisted nuclear transport of the meiotic regulator Mei2p in fission yeast.
Cell 95, 115-123.



Yoshimura, S., Otsubo, Y., Yamashita, A., and Ishikawa, K. (2021)
Insights into normothermic treatment with direct irradiation of atmospheric pressure plasma for biological applications.
Japanese Journal of Applied Physics 60, 010502.

Otsubo, Y., Kamada, Y., and Yamashita, A. (2020)
Novel Links between TORC1 and Traditional Non-Coding RNA, tRNA.
Genes 11, 956.

Yamashita, A. (2019). 
meiRNA, a polyvalent player in fission yeast meiosis.
non-coding RNA 5, 45.

Otsubo, Y., Nakashima, A., Yamamoto,M., and Yamashita, A. (2017).
TORC1-dependent phosphorylation targets in fission yeast.
Biomolecules 7, 50.

Yamashita, A.*, Sakuno, T.,* Watanabe, Y., and Yamamoto, M. (2016).
Analysis of Schizosaccharomyces pombe Meiosis.
Fission Yeast, A Laboratory Manual, 251-259. (contributed equally)

Yamashita, A., Shichino, Y., and Yamamoto, M. (2015).
The long non-coding RNA world in yeasts.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta-Gene Regulatory Mechanisms 1859,  147-154.

Otsubo, Y., and Yamamoto, M. (2012).
Signaling pathways for fission yeast sexual differentiation at a glance.
Journal of Cell Science 125, 2789-2793.

Otsubo, Y., and Yamamato, M. (2008).
TOR signaling in fission yeast.
Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology43, 277-283.


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Specially Appointed
Associate Professor
Specially Appointed
Assistant Professor
Technical Staff Atsuko NAKADE

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National Institute for Basic Biology
Nishigonaka 38, Myodaiji, Okazaki, Aichi, 444-8585, Japan
TEL: +81-564-55-7512
FAX: +81-564-55-7656


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