Tomo Tanaka

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Tomo Tanaka (Tomoyuki U Tanaka)
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Alma materUniversity of Tokyo
OccupationResearcher, professor
OrganisationUniversity of Dundee
Known forThe study of chromosome segregation in mitosis

Tomo Tanaka (born in Japan in 1962), is a professor and research scientist based in the Cell and Molecular Biology unit of School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee, as well as being a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow.[1]

His research group has been studying the mechanisms of chromosome segregation in mitosis, chromosome organisation in the nucleus, and how abnormalities in these processes lead to diseases.[2][3][4]

Early life and career

He graduated in 1987 from the University of Tokyo with a Medical degree and continued his studies at the same institution with a Ph.D. in Medical sciences in 1995.[5][6]

He worked as a Research Fellow and Medical Staff at the University of Tokyo from 1987 to 1996. He started his postdoctoral research at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna in 1996 and became Staff Scientist in 1999. In 2001, he became a lecturer and Principal Investigator at the University of Dundee. He was promoted as Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology in 2007.[7][8]


The Tomo Tanaka group has been studying how chromosomes are faithfully duplicated and segregated during the cell cycle. Their major scientific discoveries to date are listed as follows. They have used budding yeast as a model organism (A–D) and recently have extended their research to human cells (E).

A) Initial kinetochore–microtubule interaction: The initial kinetochore–microtubule interaction must occur efficiently to ensure proper chromosome segregation. They discovered mechanisms regulating initial kinetochore interaction with the microtubule lateral side (Tanaka K et al 2005; Kitamura et al 2007; Kitamura et al 2010; Vasileva et al 2017) and subsequent kinetochore attachment at the microtubule end (Tanaka K et al 2007; Maure et al 2011; Gandhi et al 2011; Kalantzaki et al 2015).

B) Mechanisms promoting chromosome biorientation: Chromosome biorientation is essential for correct chromosome segregation; sister kinetochores must interact with microtubules from the opposite spindle poles before anaphase. They discovered that Aurora B kinase plays central roles in promoting biorientation (Tanaka TU et al 2002; Dewar et al 2004; Garcia-Rodriguez et al 2019). They also revealed how the kinetochore–microtubule interactions are released and reformed to resolve any aberrant interactions (Kalantzaki et al 2015).

C) Spatial and temporal regulation of chromosome duplication: Prior to chromosome segregation in mitosis, chromosomes must be duplicated with high fidelity. They found mechanisms regulating replication initiation at replication origins (Tanaka T et al 1997; Tanaka T et al 1998), replication timing around centromeres (Natsume et al 2015) and spatial organisation into replication factories (Kitamura et al 2006; Saner et al 2013).

D) Regulation of sister chromatid cohesion: Duplicated chromosomes must be held together until anaphase onset. Cohesins play central roles in sister chromatid cohesion. They found that cohesins accumulate at peri-centromeres to support chromosome biorientation (Tanaka T et al 1999; Tanaka T et al 2000), and revealed mechanisms facilitating this accumulation (Natsume et al 2015). At anaphase onset, sister chromatid cohesion must be dissolved efficiently. They found novel mechanisms promoting dissolution of cohesion (Renshaw et al 2010; Li et al 2017).

E) Regulation of human chromosomes in mitosis: They have found novel acto-myosin-dependent mechanisms facilitating efficient chromosome interactions with spindle microtubules in human cells (Booth et al 2019). They also developed a new assay for quantitative analyses of chromosome resolution and compaction in early mitosis (Eykelenboom et al 2019).[9][10][11]


Awards and recognition

  • European Research Council Advanced Grant (2013–2018)
  • Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow (2012–)
  • Member of Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine (2011)
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2009)
  • EMBO member (2008)
  • The Hooke Medal of The British Society for Cell Biology (2007)
  • Cancer Research UK Senior Research Fellow (2006–2012)
  • Lister Institute Research Prize Fellowship (2005)
  • Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellow (2001–2005)
  • EMBO Young Investigator (2000)[12]

External Link


  1. "School of Life Sciences". Retrieved 2020-08-19.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. "Tomo Tanaka lab". Retrieved 2020-08-19.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. "Tomoyuki Tanaka ResearchGate". Retrieved 2020-08-12.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. "Tomoyuki Tanaka's Lab". Retrieved 2020-08-12.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. "Tomo Tanaka Lab". Retrieved 2020-08-19.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. "Tomoyuki Tanaka 0000-0002-9886-5947)". Retrieved 2020-08-20.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. "Tomo Tanaka Lab". Retrieved 2020-08-19.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. "Tomoyuki Tanaka 0000-0002-9886-5947)". Retrieved 2020-08-20.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. "Google Scholar". Retrieved 2020-08-20.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. "Tomo Tanaka Lab Publication". Retrieved 2020-08-21.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. "Tomo Tanaka Lab Research Project". Retrieved 2020-08-19.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. "Tomo Tanaka Lab". Retrieved 2020-08-12.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

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