Takeshi Imamura

Ehime University, Matuyama, Ehime, Japan

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Publications (118)644.33 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Digital-scanned light-sheet microscopy (DSLM) illuminates a sample in a plane and captures single-photon–excitation fluorescence images with a camera from a direction perpendicular to the light sheet. This method is potentially useful for observing biological specimens, because image acquisition is relatively fast, resulting in reduction of phototoxicity. However, DSLM cannot be effectively applied to high-scattering materials due to the image blur resulting from thickening of the light sheet by scattered photons. However, two-photon–excitation DSLM (2p-DSLM) enables collection of high-contrast image with near infrared (NIR) excitation. In conventional 2p-DSLM, the minimal excitation volume for two-photon excitation restricts the field of view. In this study, we achieved wide-field 2p-DSLM by using a high–pulse energy fiber laser, and then used this technique to perform intravital imaging of a small model fish species, medaka (Oryzias latipes). Wide fields of view (>700 μm) were achieved by using a low–numerical aperture (NA) objective lens and high–peak energy NIR excitation at 1040 nm. We also performed high-speed imaging at near-video rate and successfully captured the heartbeat movements of a living medaka fish at 20 frames/sec.
    Biomedical Optics Express 10/2014; 5(10):3311-3325. · 3.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective Mechanical loading on the bone is sensed by osteocytes. Sclerostin is a molecule secreted by osteocytes that is downregulated by mechanical loading; therefore, its expression level is a potent sensor that indicates the spatial transduction of biomechanical properties in bone. This study applied macroconfocal microscopy to observe the spatial response of alveolar bone to orthodontic forces after immunofluorescence using anti-sclerostin antibodies. Design Orthodontic tooth movement with the Ni-Ti closed-coil spring was applied between the upper bilateral incisors and the left first molar of mice. Four days after this application, the animals were subjected to multimodal confocal fluorescence imaging analyses. Results Obvious downregulation of sclerotin in the osteocytic lacuna-canalicular system (LCS) was observed specifically in tensile sites of alveolar bone. Confocal-based three-dimensional fluorescence morphometry further quantitatively demonstrated that the distribution and expression of sclerostin in the tensile sites was significantly reduced compared to that observed in the corresponding control sites. Interestingly, the levels of sclerotin signals in the compression sites were significantly higher than those observed in the control sites, although the distribution of sclerotin was not significantly different. Conclusions Our observations suggest that spatial changes in the level and distribution of sclerostin in the alveolar LCS trigger successive bone remodeling due to orthodontic tooth movement. The multimodal confocal imaging analyses applied in this work will enhance comprehensive understanding regarding the spatial regulation of molecules of interest from the tissue to the cellular level.
    Archives of Oral Biology. 09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Near-infrared ultrafast lasers are widely used for multiphoton excited fluorescence microscopy in living animals. Ti:Sapphire lasers are typically used for multiphoton excitation, but their emission wavelength is restricted below 1,000 nm. The aim of this study is to evaluate the performance of a compact Ytterbium-(Yb-) fiber laser at 1,045 nm for multiphoton excited fluorescence microscopy in spinal cord injury.
    Lasers in Surgery and Medicine 06/2014; · 2.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fluorescent imaging technique is a promising method and has been developed for in vivo applications in cellular biology. In particular, nonlinear optical imaging technique, multi-photon microscopy has make it possible to analyze deep portion of tissues in living animals such as axons of spinal code. Traumatic spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are usually caused by contusion damages. Therefore, observation of spinal cord tissue after the contusion injury is necessary for understanding cellular dynamics in response to traumatic SCI and development of the treatment for traumatic SCI. Our goal is elucidation of mechanism for degeneration of axons after contusion injuries by establishing SCI model and chronic observation of injured axons in the living animals. Firstly we generated and observed acute SCI model by contusion injury. By using a multi-photon microscope, axons in dorsal cord were visualized approximately 140 micron in depth from the surface. Immediately after injury, minimal morphological change of spinal cord was observed. At 3 days after injury, spinal cord was swelling and the axons seem to be fragmented. At 7 days after injury, increased degradation of axons could be observed, although the image was blurred due to accumulation of the connective tissue. In the present study, we successfully observed axon degeneration after the contusion SCI in a living animal in vivo. Our final goal is to understand molecular mechanisms and cellular dynamics in response to traumatic SCIs in acute and chronic stage.
    02/2014;
  • Takeshi Imamura, Yusuke Oshima, Atsuhiko Hikita
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    ABSTRACT: Members of the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) family, including TGF-βs, activin, and bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), are multifunctional proteins that regulate a wide variety of cellular responses, such as proliferation, differentiation, migration, and apoptosis. TGF-β family signaling is mainly mediated by membranous serine/threonine kinase receptors and intracellular Smad proteins. This signaling is tightly regulated by various posttranslational modifications including ubiquitination. Several E3 ubiquitin ligases play a crucial role in the recognition and ubiquitin-dependent degradation of TGF-β family receptors, Smad proteins and their interacted proteins to regulate positively and negatively TGF-β family signaling. In contrast, non-degradative ubiquitin modifications also regulate TGF-β family signaling. Recently, in addition to protein ubiquitination, deubiquitination by deubiquitinating enzymes has been reported to control TGF-β family signaling pathways. Interestingly, more recent studies suggest that TGF-β signaling is not only regulated via ubiquitination and/or deubiquitination, but also it relies on ubiquitination for its effect on other pathways. Thus, ubiquitin modifications play key roles in TGF-β family signal transduction and cross-talk between TGF-β family signaling and other signaling pathways. Here, we review the current understandings of the positive and negative regulatory mechanisms by ubiquitin modifications that control TGF-β family signaling.
    Journal of Biochemistry 10/2013; · 3.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Remodeling of collagen fibrils is involved in a variety of physiological and pathological processes including development, tissue repair, and metastasis. Fibroblast-populated collagen gel contraction has been employed as a model system to investigate the collagen fibril remodeling within three-dimensional collagen matrices. Research on collagen gel contraction is also important for understanding the mechanism underlying connective tissue repair, and for design considerations for engineered tissues in regenerative medicine. Second harmonic generation (SHG) is a non-linier optical effect by which well-ordered protein assemblies, including collagen fibrils, can be visualized without any labeling, and used for a noninvasive imaging of collagen fibrils in the skin. Here we demonstrate that the remodeling of collagen fibrils in the fibroblast-populated collagen gel can be analyzed by SHG imaging with a multiphoton microscope. Two models of collagen gel contraction (freely versus restrained contraction) were prepared, and orientation of fibroblasts, density, diameter, and distribution of collagen fibrils were examined by multiphoton fluorescent and SHG microscopy. Three-dimensional construction images revealed vertical and horizontal orientation of fibroblasts in freely and restrained gel contraction, respectively. Quantitative analysis indicated that collagen fibrils were accumulated within the gel and assembled into the thicker bundles in freely but not restrained collagen gel contraction. We also found that actomyosin contractility was involved in collagen fibril remodeling. This study elucidates how collagen fibrils are remodeled by fibroblasts in collagen gel contraction, and also proves that SHG microscopy can be used for the investigation of the fibroblast-populated collagen gel.
    Cell Structure and Function 10/2013; · 1.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Voltage-sensitive fluorescent proteins (VSFPs) are a family of genetically-encoded voltage indicators (GEVIs) reporting membrane voltage fluctuation from genetically-targeted cells in cell cultures to whole brains in awake mice as demonstrated earlier using 1-photon (1P) fluorescence excitation imaging. However, in-vivo 1P imaging captures optical signals only from superficial layers and does not optically resolve single neurons. Two-photon excitation (2P) imaging, on the other hand, has not yet been convincingly applied to GEVI experiments. Here we show that 2P imaging of VSFP Butterfly 1.2 expresssing pyramidal neurons in layer 2/3 reports optical membrane voltage in brain slices consistent with 1P imaging but with a 2-3 larger ΔR/R value. 2P imaging of mouse cortex in-vivo achieved cellular resolution throughout layer 2/3. In somatosensory cortex we recorded sensory responses to single whisker deflections in anesthetized mice at full frame video rate. Our results demonstrate the feasibility of GEVI-based functional 2P imaging in mouse cortex.
    Scientific Reports 07/2013; 3:2231. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Intravital optical imaging technique is a promising method that allows us to investigate complex vital phenomena in vivo . In particular, discovery and development of unique fluorescent proteins and smart fluorescent dyes in conjunction with appropriate equipments such as two-photon microscopy and image processing software allow visualization of the behavior and function of bone and cartilage-related cells as well as the microenvironment of the cells in bone and cartilage in living animals. Here we show recent technological development and issues of the intravital optical imaging and the application of the fluorescent imaging approaches to bone and cartilage biology.
    Clinical calcium 01/2013; 23(12):1767-73.
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    ABSTRACT: Smad7 is an inhibitory molecule induced by members of the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) family, including TGF-β, activin, nodal and bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs). To elucidate the in vivo functions of Smad7, we generated conditional Smad7-knockout mice in which the Mad homology 2 (MH2) domain and the poly (A) signal sequence were flanked with loxP sites (floxed). The Smad7-floxed mice exhibited no obvious phenotype. Smad7 total-null mice on a C57BL/6 background died within a few days of birth, whereas mice with an ICR background developed to adulthood but were significantly smaller than wild-type mice. Unexpectedly, phospho-Smad2 and phospho-Smad3 were decreased in Smad7-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) cells, whereas phospho-Smad1/5/8 was similarly expressed in wild-type and Smad7-deficient MEF cells. Moreover, expression levels of TGF-β type I receptor (ALK5) were higher in Smad7-deficient MEF cells than in wild-type MEF cells. Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) and inhibitor of differentiation-1 (Id-1) mRNA were similarly expressed in wild-type and Smad7-deficient MEF cells. Some differences were observed in mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)-signalling between wild-type and Smad7-deficient MEF cells. We demonstrated that Smad7 plays an important role in normal mouse growth and provide a useful tool for analysing Smad7 functions in vivo.
    Journal of Biochemistry 02/2012; 151(6):621-31. · 3.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The current utility of bioluminescence imaging is constrained by a low photon yield that limits temporal sensitivity. Here, we describe an imaging method that uses a chemiluminescent/fluorescent protein, ffLuc-cp156, which consists of a yellow variant of Aequorea GFP and firefly luciferase. We report an improvement in photon yield by over three orders of magnitude over current bioluminescent systems. We imaged cellular movement at high resolution including neuronal growth cones and microglial cell protrusions. Transgenic ffLuc-cp156 mice enabled video-rate bioluminescence imaging of freely moving animals, which may provide a reliable assay for drug distribution in behaving animals for pre-clinical studies.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 02/2012; 419(2):188-93. · 2.28 Impact Factor
  • Takeshi Imamura, Atsuhiko Hikita, Yasumichi Inoue
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    ABSTRACT: Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) ligand is a multifunctional growth factor that regulates various cell behavior, such as cell proliferation, differentiation, migration, and apoptosis. Because TGF-β is a potent growth inhibitor, abnormalities in TGF-β signaling result in carcinogenesis. In addition to tumor suppressor function, TGF-β acts as an oncogenic factor. In particular, TGF-β signaling plays an important role during metastasis of breast cancer. Recently, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has been shown to confer malignant properties such as cell motility and invasiveness to cancer cells and plays crucial roles during cancer metastasis. Moreover, breast stem-like cells exhibit EMT properties. Because TGF-β is a potent regulator of EMT as well as cell stemness, TGF-β signaling might play a crucial role in the regulation of breast cancer stem cells.
    Breast Cancer 12/2011; 19(2):118-24. · 1.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) is regarded as a promising therapeutic target because it is often activated in cancer. We previously reported that ZSTK474, a specific PI3K inhibitor, inhibits tumour cell proliferation via G1 arrest of the cell cycle without inducing apoptosis in vitro. However, it remained unclear whether ZSTK474 induces G1 arrest to exert antitumour efficacy in vivo. We recently developed a live imaging system, named Fluorescent Ubiquitination-based Cell Cycle Indicator (Fucci), to visualise cell cycle distribution. Here, by using this system, we tested whether ZSTK474 induces G1 arrest in tumour cells in vivo, as well as in vitro. Fucci-introduced human breast cancer MCF-7 cells and cervical cancer HeLa cells were subcutaneously xenografted in nude mice. ZSTK474 was administered to the tumour-bearing mice for 5 days, and the cell cycle distribution in the xenografted tumours were analysed by monitoring fluorescence in live mice. We demonstrate that ZSTK474 induces G1arrest along with tumour suppression in vivo. Moreover, we show that ZSTK474 suppresses the tumour growth without inducing apoptosis. Interestingly, such increase in G1 cells and tumour suppression was maintained during long-term (3-month) administration of ZSTK474. These results suggest that ZSTK474 exerts its in vivo antitumour efficacy via G1 arrest but not via apoptosis as long as it is administered, and could be used for months as maintenance therapy for patients with advanced cancers.
    European journal of cancer (Oxford, England: 1990) 11/2011; 48(6):936-43. · 4.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Specific regulation of target genes by transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) in a given cellular context is determined in part by transcription factors and cofactors that interact with the Smad complex. In this study, we determined Smad2 and Smad3 (Smad2/3) binding regions in the promoters of known genes in HepG2 hepatoblastoma cells, and we compared them with those in HaCaT epidermal keratinocytes to elucidate the mechanisms of cell type- and context-dependent regulation of transcription induced by TGF-β. Our results show that 81% of the Smad2/3 binding regions in HepG2 cells were not shared with those found in HaCaT cells. Hepatocyte nuclear factor 4α (HNF4α) is expressed in HepG2 cells but not in HaCaT cells, and the HNF4α-binding motif was identified as an enriched motif in the HepG2-specific Smad2/3 binding regions. Chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing analysis of HNF4α binding regions under TGF-β stimulation revealed that 32.5% of the Smad2/3 binding regions overlapped HNF4α bindings. MIXL1 was identified as a new combinatorial target of HNF4α and Smad2/3, and both the HNF4α protein and its binding motif were required for the induction of MIXL1 by TGF-β in HepG2 cells. These findings generalize the importance of binding of HNF4α on Smad2/3 binding genomic regions for HepG2-specific regulation of transcription by TGF-β and suggest that certain transcription factors expressed in a cell type-specific manner play important roles in the transcription regulated by the TGF-β-Smad signaling pathway.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2011; 286(34):29848-29860. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling is controlled by a variety of regulators, of which Smad7, c-Ski, and SnoN play a pivotal role in its negative regulation. Arkadia is a RING-type E3 ubiquitin ligase that targets these negative regulators for degradation to enhance TGF-β signaling. In the present study we identified a candidate human tumor suppressor gene product RB1CC1/FIP200 as a novel positive regulator of TGF-β signaling that functions as a substrate-selective cofactor of Arkadia. Overexpression of RB1CC1 enhanced TGF-β signaling, and knockdown of endogenous RB1CC1 attenuated TGF-β-induced expression of target genes as well as TGF-β-induced cytostasis. RB1CC1 down-regulated the protein levels of c-Ski but not SnoN by enhancing the activity of Arkadia E3 ligase toward c-Ski. Substrate selectivity is primarily attributable to the physical interaction of RB1CC1 with substrates, suggesting its role as a scaffold protein. RB1CC1 thus appears to play a unique role as a modulator of TGF-β signaling by restricting substrate specificity of Arkadia.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 07/2011; 286(37):32502-12. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is an oncogenic retrovirus that is etiologically associated with adult T-cell leukemia. The HTLV-1 bZIP factor (HBZ), which is encoded by the minus strand of the provirus, is involved in both regulation of viral gene transcription and T-cell proliferation. We showed in this report that HBZ interacted with Smad2/3, and enhanced transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β)/Smad transcriptional responses in a p300-dependent manner. The N-terminal LXXLL motif of HBZ was responsible for HBZ-mediated TGF-β signaling activation. In a serial immunoprecipitation assay, HBZ, Smad3, and p300 formed a ternary complex, and the association between Smad3 and p300 was markedly enhanced in the presence of HBZ. In addition, HBZ could overcome the repression of the TGF-β response by Tax. Finally, HBZ expression resulted in enhanced transcription of Pdgfb, Sox4, Ctgf, Foxp3, Runx1, and Tsc22d1 genes and suppression of the Id2 gene; such effects were similar to those by TGF-β. In particular, HBZ induced Foxp3 expression in naive T cells through Smad3-dependent TGF-β signaling. Our results suggest that HBZ, by enhancing TGF-β signaling and Foxp3 expression, enables HTLV-1 to convert infected T cells into regulatory T cells, which is thought to be a critical strategy for virus persistence.
    Blood 06/2011; 118(7):1865-76. · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Specific regulation of target genes by transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) in a given cellular context is determined in part by transcription factors and cofactors that interact with the Smad complex. In this study, we determined Smad2 and Smad3 (Smad2/3) binding regions in the promoters of known genes in HepG2 hepatoblastoma cells, and we compared them with those in HaCaT epidermal keratinocytes to elucidate the mechanisms of cell type- and context-dependent regulation of transcription induced by TGF-β. Our results show that 81% of the Smad2/3 binding regions in HepG2 cells were not shared with those found in HaCaT cells. Hepatocyte nuclear factor 4α (HNF4α) is expressed in HepG2 cells but not in HaCaT cells, and the HNF4α-binding motif was identified as an enriched motif in the HepG2-specific Smad2/3 binding regions. Chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing analysis of HNF4α binding regions under TGF-β stimulation revealed that 32.5% of the Smad2/3 binding regions overlapped HNF4α bindings. MIXL1 was identified as a new combinatorial target of HNF4α and Smad2/3, and both the HNF4α protein and its binding motif were required for the induction of MIXL1 by TGF-β in HepG2 cells. These findings generalize the importance of binding of HNF4α on Smad2/3 binding genomic regions for HepG2-specific regulation of transcription by TGF-β and suggest that certain transcription factors expressed in a cell type-specific manner play important roles in the transcription regulated by the TGF-β-Smad signaling pathway.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2011; 286(34):29848-60. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • Takeshi Imamura, Aki Hanyu, Atsuhiko Hikita
    Seikagaku. The Journal of Japanese Biochemical Society 05/2011; 83(5):406-9. · 0.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ski was originally identified as an oncogene based on the fact that Ski overexpression transformed chicken and quail embryo fibroblasts. Consistent with these proposed oncogenic roles, Ski is overexpressed in various human tumors. However, whether and how Ski functions in mammalian tumorigenesis has not been fully investigated. Here, we show that Ski interacts with p53 and attenuates the biological functions of p53. Ski overexpression attenuated p53-dependent transactivation, whereas Ski knockdown enhanced the transcriptional activity of p53. Interestingly, Ski bound to the histone deacetylase SIRT1 and stabilized p53-SIRT1 interaction to promote p53 deacetylation, which subsequently decreased the DNA binding activity of p53. Consistent with the ability of Ski to inactivate p53, overexpressing Ski desensitized cells to genotoxic drugs and Nutlin-3, a small-molecule antagonist of Mdm2 that stabilizes p53 and activates the p53 pathway, whereas knocking down Ski increased the cellular sensitivity to these agents. These results indicate that Ski negatively regulates p53 and suggest that the p53-Ski-SIRT1 axis is an attractive target for cancer therapy.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2011; 286(8):6311-20. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    Retrovirology 01/2011; 8:1-1. · 5.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There has been a growing interest in analyzing complex biology in living animals by in vivo fluorescent imaging. In vivo fluorescent imaging by using novel fluorescent molecular probes and advanced fluorescent microscopy e.g. two-photon microscopy allow us to analyze deep tissues in bone. In this review, we demonstrated our data and discussed about in vivo fluorescent imaging in bone research field.
    Clinical calcium 01/2011; 21(7):1036-40.

Publication Stats

8k Citations
644.33 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2011–2014
    • Ehime University
      Matuyama, Ehime, Japan
    • University Hospital Medical Information Network
      Edo, Tōkyō, Japan
  • 1998–2011
    • The University of Tokyo
      • Faculty & Graduate School of Medicine
      Tokyo, Tokyo-to, Japan
  • 1997–2011
    • Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research
      Edo, Tōkyō, Japan
  • 2006
    • Tokyo Medical and Dental University
      • Division of Advanced Therapeutic Sciences
      Edo, Tōkyō, Japan
  • 2004
    • Tokyo Institute of Technology
      • Department of Biological Sciences
      Edo, Tōkyō, Japan
  • 1998–2001
    • Virginia Cancer Institute
      Midlothian, Illinois, United States
  • 1994–1998
    • Kagoshima University
      • • Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
      • • Faculty of Medicine
      Kagosima, Kagoshima, Japan