BioEducationDr. 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.
Research SummaryNuclear 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.
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