Nobuaki J. Kikyo, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development

Nobuaki J. Kikyo

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-624-0498

Fax 612-624-2436

Lab Phone 612-625-1452

Office Address:
Stem Cell Institute
2-216 MTRF
2001 - 6th St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Mailing Address:
Stem Cell Institute
2873B (Campus Delivery Code)
2001 6th St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

MD, Tokyo University Medical School, Japan, 1987

PhD,Tokyo University Medical School, Japan, 1993

Postdoctoral Fellow, Wellcome/CRC Institute, University of Cambridge (Genomic Imprinting)



Dr. Kikyo, Associate Professor of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development, is a member of the Stem Cell Institute and the Masonic Cancer Center. He received his M.D. in 1987 and Ph.D. in 1993 from Tokyo University Medical School, Japan. He studied genomic imprinting in Dr. Azim Surani’s laboratory at Wellcome/CRC Institute, University of Cambridge as a postdoctoral fellow. He then moved to Dr. Alan Wolffe’s laboratory at NIH to start biochemical analysis of somatic cell nuclear cloning in Xenopus. He joined the University of Minnesota in 2000.


Epigenetic regulation, Chromatin, Pluripotency, Cell differentiation, Cell reprogramming, Stem Cells


Research Summary/Interests

Nuclear remodeling, stem cells and cancer

The long-term goal of Dr. Kikyo's group is to understand molecular mechanisms underlying pluripotency and cell differentiation. This study is expected to contribute to the development of regenerative medicine. His group has been using somatic cell nuclear cloning in Xenopus and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) of mouse and human to investigate pluripotency. His group established an in vitro model of Xenopus nuclear cloning by incubating egg extract and somactic cell nuclei. From this study, they identified the SWI/SNF ATPase ISWI, the nucleolar disassembly proteins FRGY2a/b, and the histone chaperon nucleoplasmin as key proteins for nuclear remodeling in nuclear cloning. More recently, his group fused the powerful transactivation domain of MyoD to the pluripotency protein Oct4 and radically improved the efficiency of making iPSCs. In addition, fusion of the same domain to the cardiac transcription factor Mef2c facilitates the reprogramming of fibroblasts to cardiomyocyte-like cells. His group continues the search for other key regulators necessary for the reprogramming of a cell differentiation state.


Selected Biography

  • Kobayashi, H., and Kikyo, N. Epigenetic regulation of open chromatin in pluripotent stem cells. Trans Res. doi: 10.1016/j.trsl.2014.03.004. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Sabin, K., and Kikyo, N. (2014) Microvesicles as mediators of tissue regeneration. Trans Res.163, 286-295
  • Hirai, H., and Kikyo, N. Inhibitors of suppressive histone modification promote direct reprogramming of fibroblasts to cardiomyocyte-like cells. Cardiovas Res (2014) 102, 188-190.
  • Hirai, H., Katoku-Kikyo, N., Keirstead, S.A. and Kikyo, N. (2013) Accelerated direct reprogramming of fibroblasts into cardiomyocyte-like cells with the MyoD transactivation domain. Cardiovas Res. 100, 105-113.
  • Hirai, H., Katoku-Kikyo, N., Karian, P., Firpo, M. and Kikyo, N. (2012) Efficient iPS cell production with the MyoD transactivation domain in serum-free culture. PLoS ONE 7, e34149
  • Hirai, H., Firpo, M., and Kikyo, N. (2012) Establishment of LIF-dependent human iPS cells closely related to basic FGF-dependent authentic iPS cells. PLoS ONE 7, e39022
  • Lee., C., and Kikyo, N. (2012) Strategies to identify long noncoding RNAs in gene regulation. Cell & Bioscience 2, 37.
  • Hirai, H. Karian, P., and Kikyo, N. (2011) Regulation of embryonic stem cell self-renewal and pluripotency by leukemia inhibitory factor. Biochemical J, 438, 11-23.
  • Hirai H, Tani T, Katoku-Kikyo N, Kellner S, Karian P, Firpo M, Kikyo N. (2011) Radical Acceleration of Nuclear Reprogramming by Chromatin Remodeling With the Transactivation Domain of MyoD. Stem Cells, 29, 1349-61.
  • Romanova, L., Katoku-Kikyo, N., Kellner, S. and Kikyo, N. 2009. Novel role of nucleostemin in the maintenance of nucleolar architecture and integrity of small nucleolar ribonucleoproteins and the telomerase complex. J Biol Chem, 284, 26685-94.
  • Romanova, L., Grand, A., Zhang, L., Rayner, S., Katoku-Kikyo, N. and Kikyo, N.(2009) Critical roles of nucleostemin in pre-rRNA processing and protein synthesis. J Biol Chem, 284, 4968-77.
  • Gonda K, Fowler J, Katoku-Kikyo N, Haroldson J, Wudel J, and Kikyo N. (2003) Reversible disassembly of somatic nucleoli by the germ cell proteins FRGY2a and FRGY2b. Nature Cell Biol 5, 205-10.
  • Kikyo N., Wade P.A, Guschin D., Ge H., and Wolffe AP. (2000) Active remodeling of somatic nuclei in egg cytoplasm by the nucleosomal ATPase ISWI. Science 289, 2360-2.