Takanari Inoue, Ph.D.


443-287-7668 (office), 443-287-7669 (lab)

Department of Cell Biology
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
855 N. Wolfe Street, 476 Rangos
Baltimore, MD 21205

Academic Titles


Research Topic

Directed cell migration; tumor metastasis; primary cilia; synthetic chemical biology; technology development

Research Topic: Synthetic Cell Biology

Our research focuses on synthetic cell biology to dissect intricate signaling networks. In particular, we investigate positive-feedback mechanisms underlying the initiation of neutrophil chemotaxis (known as a symmetry breaking process), as well as spatio-temporally compartmentalized Ras signaling. In parallel, our lab also tries to understand how cell morphology affects biochemical functions in cells. Ultimately, we will generate completely orthogonal nano-machinery in cells that can achieve existing, and even novel, cellular functions.

Figure 1: Engineering cellular morphology. Time series of confocal fluorescence images of NIH3T3 fibroblasts experiencing striking morphological changes upon rapid activation of small GTPases such as Rac, Cdc42, and RhoA.

Figure 2: Inducible cell migration. Time series of confocal dual-color fluorescence images of differentiated HL-60 cells in which PI3K or Rac is rapidly and inducibly activated without activating any molecules upstream. Such synthetic activation of PI3K, but not Rac, led to cell polarization and following migration. Yellow: PI3K or Rac activated cells, Blue: Nuclei.

Figure 3: Tools to manipulate protein activity at specific subcellular compartments (a) A principle diagram for inducible recruitment of signaling molecules (green circles). c, cytoplasm, o, organelle. (b) Confocal fluorescence images of HeLa cells showing rapid translocation of cytoplasmic proteins to specific organelles upon 5 M iRap addition for 5 minutes. Scale bar indicates 20 m.