Kazunari Taira

Tokyo University and Graduate School of Social Welfare, Edo, Tōkyō, Japan

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Publications (434)2114.18 Total impact

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    Vivi Kasim · Shourong Wu · Kazunari Taira · Makoto Miyagishi
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    ABSTRACT: RNA interference (RNAi) is an endogenous RNA-destruction phenomenon induced by certain double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs). In RNAi, dsRNAs are processed into small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) which in turn trigger the cleavage of the target mRNA. Here, using a short hairpin RNA-expression library, we identified a DEAD-box helicase 3, DDX3, as an essential factor involved in RNAi pathway and revealed that DDX3 is colocalized with Ago2, an essential factor in RNAi pathway that cleaves target mRNA. Results of experiments with a dominant negative mutant of DDX3 further confirmed that this factor affects the RNAi activity. Together, DDX3 functions to assure mammalian RNAi pathway. Together, our results indicate that DDX3 is a new key molecule to understand the molecular mechanism underlying RNAi pathway in mammals.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Retaining glycosyl hydrolases, which catalyse both glycosylation and deglycosylation in a concerted manner, are the most abundant hydrolases. To date, their visualization has tended to be focused on glycosylation because glycosylation reactions can be visualized by inactivating deglycosylation step and/or using substrate analogues to isolate covalent intermediates. Furthermore, during structural analyses of glycosyl hydrolases with hydrolytic reaction products by the conventional soaking method, mutarotation of an anomeric carbon in the reaction products promptly and certainly occurs. This undesirable structural alteration hinders visualization of the second step in the reaction. Here, we investigated X-ray crystallographic visualization as a possible method for visualizing the conformational itinerary of a retaining xylanase from Streptomyces olivaceoviridis E-86. To clearly define the stereochemistry at the anomeric carbon during the deglycosylation step, extraneous nucleophiles, such as azide, were adopted to substitute for the missing base catalyst in an appropriate mutant. The X-ray crystallographic visualization provided snapshots of the components of the entire reaction, including the E*S complex, the covalent intermediate, breakdown of the intermediate and the enzyme-product (E*P)complex.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2009 · Journal of Biochemistry
  • Jun Ohkawa · Yutaka Takebe · Kazunari Taira
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    ABSTRACT: Ribozymes are recognized as useful tools for the manipulation of genes because of their high specificity and the fact that they act without influencing the expression of genes that are unrelated targets (1,2). To date, many successful experiments with intracellular ribozymes have been reported. However, there are only few detailed descriptions of how to construct a ribozyme expression system. Each ribozyme is a kind of enzyme, and its tertiary structure is important for its enzymatic activity. For the expression of ribozymes in vivo, most researchers use expression systems of the type developed for the synthesis of proteins. For example, promoters resembling those recognized by RNA polymerase II (pol II systems) are used as part of the transcription system. Recently, it has been shown that such expression systems are not always suitable for ribozymes (3). The pol II type of promoter has a requirement for extra sequences at the 5′ and 3′ ends of the sequences to be transcribed, which are essential for correct and effective transcription. However, it is possible that such extra sequences might change the tertiary structure of ribozymes via, for example, inappropriate base-pairs with nucleotides in the ribozyme sequence. As a result, the ribozyme would be converted from its active conformation to an inactive conformation. Moreover, since the transcribed RNA can function as a messenger RNA, ribosomes bind to it, and such binding might inhibit the association of the ribozyme with its target RNA in the cytoplasm.
    No preview · Chapter · Jan 2008
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    Atsushi Inoue · Shinya Y Sawata · Kazunari Taira · Renu Wadhwa
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    ABSTRACT: We have developed a loss-of-function screening system on the basis of intracellular expression of single domain antibodies. We demonstrate its use in identification of potential targets of metastasis of human cancerous cells. Randomized intracellular antibodies were expressed in highly metastatic cells, and a derivative pool of cells with loss of migration phenotype in chemotaxis assay was isolated. Isolation of antibodies from cells with loss of migration phenotype and identification of their target proteins revealed the involvement of the heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein K (hnRNP-K), a multifunctional signaling protein, in metastasis. Furthermore, we found that the cytoplasmic accumulation of hnRNP-K is crucial for its role in metastasis. The results demonstrate (i) the advantages of our functional interference screening over the gene-knockouts and gene-silencing, (ii) hnRNP-K as a potential target of metastasis, and (iii) a potential anti-metastasis peptide validated in in vitro cell migration assays.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2007 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    H Akashi · K Taira

    Preview · Article · Apr 2007 · Heredity
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    Sahohime Matsumoto · Makoto Miyagishi · Kazunari Taira
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    ABSTRACT: RNA interference (RNAi) is an evolutionarily conserved phenomenon in which gene expression is silenced by double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) in a sequence-specific manner. This technology has the potential to affect all aspects of target discovery and validation. With the completion of the human genome, it is now possible to design small-interfering RNA (siRNA) libraries targeting every human gene. Specific siRNAs, libraries containing a pathway, gene family, or gene set of interest, are expected to unsecure new targets in pathways of therapeutic interest. Here, we highlight the potential of siRNA screens for target identification by using cell-based assays.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2007 · Methods in Molecular Biology
  • Satoshi Fujita · Jing-Min Zhou · Kazunari Taira
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    ABSTRACT: We present a novel strategy for the connection of phenotype and genotype in vitro that can be used for the selection of functional proteins. The strategy involves the generation of a stable complex among a ribosome, an messenger RNA and its translated protein, without removal of the termination codon, as a result of the action of the ricin A chain during translation. The technique requires no transfection, no chemical synthesis, no ligation, and no removal of the termination codon. Thus, our novel ribosome-inactivation display system should provide, without loss of the pool population, a reliable, simple, and robust selection system for the in vitro evolution of the properties of proteins in a predictable direction by a combination of randomization and appropriate selection strategies.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2007 · Methods in Molecular Biology
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    Masayuki Sano · Kazunari Taira
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    ABSTRACT: With the accumulation of vast amounts of data as a result of the sequencing of the human genome, it is necessary to identify human genes that are involved in various cellular, developmental, and disease-related processes and to clarify their functions and potential utility as targets in the treatment of disease. Identification methods based on the use of hammerhead and hairpin ribozymes have received increasing attention as possible tools for the rapid identification of key genes involved in biological processes. This chapter describes the method known as gene-discovery by a hammerhead ribozyme library for elucidation of the gene function. Use of this technology has already revealed new insights into several important biological phenomena.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2007 · Methods in Molecular Biology
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    ABSTRACT: The protein no longer terminates here. Non-natural amino acids were attached onto a tRNA and were then transferred with the aid of L/F-tRNA-protein transferase to the N termini of proteins possessing N-terminal Lys or Arg components. By this new technique, 1- and 2-naphthylalanine or 3-nitrotyrosine were coupled to the N termini of several proteins. A novel and convenient method for adding single Lys units at the N termini of various proteins was also developed.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2006 · ChemBioChem
  • Reiko Onuki · Eigo Suyama · Kazunari Taira
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    ABSTRACT: Now that the sequences of many genomes are available, methods are required for the rapid identification of functional genes. We describe here a simple system for the isolation of genes that function in the tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha)-mediated pathway of apoptosis, using RNA helicase-associated ribozyme libraries with randomized substrate-binding arms. Because target-site accessibility considerably limits the effective use of intracellular ribozymes, the effectiveness of a conventional ribozyme library has been low. To overcome this obstacle, we attached to ribozymes an RNA motif (poly(A)-tail) able to interact with endogenous RNA helicase(s) so that the resulting helicase-attached, hybrid ribozymes can more easily attack target sites regardless of their secondary or tertiary structures. When the phenotype of cells changes upon introduction of a ribozyme library, genes responsible for these changes may be identified by sequencing the active ribozyme clones. In the case of TNF-alpha-mediated apoptosis, when a ribozyme library was introduced into MCF-7 cells, surviving clones were completely or partially resistant to TNF-alpha-induced apoptosis. We identified many proapoptotic genes and partial sequences of previously uncharacterized genes using this method. Our gene discovery system should be generally applicable to the identification of functional genes in various systems.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2006 · Nature Biotechnology
  • Yutaka Ikeda · Kazunari Taira
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    ABSTRACT: RNA interference (RNAi) is a post-transcriptional gene-silencing phenomenon that is triggered by double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). Since many diseases are associated with the inappropriate production of specific proteins, attempts are being made to exploit RNAi in a clinical settings. However, before RNAi can be exploited as therapeutically, several obstacles must be overcome. For example, small interfering RNA (siRNA) is unstable in the blood stream so any effects of injected siRNA are only transient. Accordingly, methods must be developed to prolong its activity. Furthermore, the efficient and safe delivery of siRNA into target tissues and cells is critical for successful therapy. Any useful delivery method should be designed to target siRNA to specific cells and to promote gene-silencing activity once the siRNA is inside the cells. Recent chemical modifications of siRNA have overcome problems associated with the instability of siRNA, and various ligands, including glycosylated molecules, peptides, proteins, antibodies and engineered antibody fragments, appear to be very useful or have considerable potential for the targeted delivery of siRNA. The use of such ligands improves the efficiency, specificity and, as a consequence, the safety of the corresponding delivery systems.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2006 · Pharmaceutical Research
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    Kazunari Taira

    Preview · Article · Aug 2006 · EMBO Reports
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    ABSTRACT: Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) signaling through the IkappaB kinase (IKK) complex attenuates insulin action via the phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS-1) at Ser307. However, the precise molecular mechanism by which the IKK complex phosphorylates IRS-1 is unknown. In this study, we report nuclear factor kappaB essential modulator (NEMO)/IKK-gamma subunit accumulation in membrane ruffles followed by an interaction with IRS-1. This intracellular trafficking of NEMO requires insulin, an intact actin cytoskeletal network, and the motor protein Myo1c. Increased Myo1c expression enhanced the NEMO-IRS-1 interaction, which is essential for TNF-alpha- induced phosphorylation of Ser307-IRS-1. In contrast, dominant inhibitory Myo1c cargo domain expression diminished this interaction and inhibited IRS-1 phosphorylation. NEMO expression also enhanced TNF-alpha-induced Ser307-IRS-1 phosphorylation and inhibited glucose uptake. In contrast, a deletion mutant of NEMO lacking the IKK-beta-binding domain or silencing NEMO blocked the TNF-alpha signal. Thus, motor protein Myo1c and its receptor protein NEMO act cooperatively to form the IKK-IRS-1 complex and function in TNF-alpha-induced insulin resistance.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2006 · The Journal of Cell Biology
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    ABSTRACT: RNA interference (RNAi) can be used to inhibit viral replication in mammalian cells and therefore could be a powerful new antiviral therapy. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) may be effective for RNAi, but there are some technical problems that must be solved in each case, for example, predicting the effective siRNA target site and targeting heterogeneous sequences in a virus population. We show here that diced siRNA generated from long double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) is highly effective for inducing RNAi in HuH-7 cells harboring hepatitis C virus (HCV) replicons and can overcome variations in the HCV genotype. However, in mammalian cells, long dsRNA induced an interferon response and caused cell death. Here we describe an improvement of this method, U6 promoter-driven expression of long hairpin-RNA with multiple point mutations in the sense strand. This can efficiently silence HCV RNA replication and HCV protein expression without triggering the interferon response or cell death normally caused by dsRNA. In conclusion, intracellular-diced dsRNA efficiently induces RNAi, and, despite the high rate of mutation in HCV, it should be a feasible therapeutic strategy for silencing HCV RNA.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2006 · Gene Therapy
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    ABSTRACT: Wt1 is one of numerous candidate genes comprising the hypothetical chain of gene expression essential for male sex differentiation of the bipotential indifferent gonads during embryogenesis. However, the evidence in the literature is ambivalent regarding the position of Wt1 relative to Sry in this scheme; Wt1 might act either upstream or downstream of Sry. In the present study, the effects of Sry expression upon Wt1 were investigated using M15 cells (XX karyotype), which are derived from murine embryonic mesonephros and express endogenous Wt1. In 3 stably-transformed Sry-expressing M15 cell lines, we showed that the expression levels of the mRNAs coding for all 4 isoforms of the WT1 proteins were down-regulated. Similarly, Wnt 4 expression was down-regulated in these cell lines. Silencing of Sry in the transformed cell lines using ribozymes or short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) resulted in elevated levels of Wt1 and Wnt4 expression. These results strongly indicate that Wt1 might be under the control of Sry during gonadal differentiation in the mouse. In electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSA), we demonstrated that the 3.7 kb 5'-upstream DNA stretch of Wt1 containing potential Sry binding sites was capable of forming molecular complexes with nuclear protein(s) from Sry expressing cells but not with those from control non-Sry expressing cells. In summary, our present results support the notion that Wt1 is located downstream of Sry and down-regulated by the sex determining gene. Although the precise biological meaning of the present findings have yet to be clarified, it is possible that Wt1 plays a dual role during gonadal differentiation, i. e., turning on Sry expression on one hand, and being down-regulated by its product, Sry, on the other, possibly forming a type of negative feed-back mechanism. Further work is needed to substantiate this view.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2006 · Journal of Reproduction and Development

  • No preview · Article · Jun 2006 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
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    ABSTRACT: Engagement of the FcepsilonRI expressed on mast cells induces the production of phosphatidylinositol 3, 4, 5-trisphosphate by PI3K, which is essential for the functions of the cells. PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome ten) directly opposes PI3K by dephosphorylating phosphatidylinositol 3, 4, 5-trisphosphate at the 3' position. In this work we used a lentivirus-mediated short hairpin RNA gene knockdown method to study the role of PTEN in CD34(+) peripheral blood-derived human mast cells. Loss of PTEN caused constitutive phosphorylation of Akt, p38 MAPK, and JNK, as well as cytokine production and enhancement in cell survival, but not degranulation. FcepsilonRI engagement of PTEN-deficient cells augmented signaling downstream of Src kinases and increased calcium flux, degranulation, and further enhanced cytokine production. PTEN-deficient cells, but not control cells, were resistant to inhibition of cytokine production by wortmannin, a PI3K inhibitor. The findings demonstrate that PTEN functions as a key regulator of mast cell homeostasis and FcepsilonRI-responsiveness.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2006 · The Journal of Immunology
  • Vivi Kasim · Kazunari Taira · Makoto Miyagishi
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    ABSTRACT: RNA interference (RNAi) has become a powerful tool in silencing target genes in various organisms. In mammals, RNAi can be induced by using short interfering RNA (siRNA). The efficacy of inducing RNAi in mammalian cells by using siRNA depends very much on the selection of the target sequences. We developed an siRNA target sequence selection system by first constructing parallel-type siRNA expression vector libraries carrying siRNA expression fragments originating from fragmentized target genes, and then using a group selection system. For a model system, we constructed parallel-type siRNA expression vector libraries against DsRed and GFP reporter genes. We carried out the first screening of groups containing more than 100 random siRNA expression plasmids in total for each target gene, and successfully obtained target sequences with very strong efficacy. Furthermore, we also obtained some clones that express dsRNAs of various lengths that might induce cytotoxicity. This system should allow us to perform screening for powerful target sequences, by including all possible target sequences for any gene, even without knowing the whole sequence of the target gene in advance. At the same time, target sequences that should be avoided due to cytotoxicity can be identified.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2006 · The Journal of Gene Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: The graft-versus-tumor (GVT) effect that occurs following allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) and donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI) is currently being subjected to intensive investigation because of clinical evidence for GVT efficacy against leukemia. In this report, we investigate the efficacy and molecular mechanisms of GVT against solid tumors, using a modification of the mouse parent-to-F1 BMT model. Mouse Colon26 cells in which tumor necrosis factor related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) receptor expression was stably knocked down were transplanted to investigate the role of the TRAIL-TRAIL receptor system in the GVT effect. In addition, Fas ligand-(FasL) deficient mice on a C57BL6 (B6) background were used as donors, to determine the significance of the Fas-FasL system for the antitumor effect. The group that received B6 DLI followed by preconditioning with 950 rad irradiation underwent tumor reduction associated with the induction of IFN-gamma, TRAIL and tumor-cell apoptosis. In vitro cultured Colon26 cells were resistant to TRAIL but susceptible to the combination of IFN-gamma and TRAIL in a TRAIL-dose-dependent manner. The infusion of lymphocytes from FasL-defective donors reduced the tumor progression, although efficacy was decreased in the TRAIL receptor knockdown tumors but not in wild-type ones, compared with infusion of B6-derived lymphocytes. The findings indicate that GVT activity against subcutaneous colon tumors is efficiently induced by preconditioning with irradiation and allogeneic DLI, and that TRAIL and IFN-gamma act cooperatively in the antitumor effect.
    Full-text · Article · May 2006 · International Journal of Cancer
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    Masayuki Sano · Yoshio Kato · Kazunari Taira
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    ABSTRACT: A virus-associated RNA (VAI) of adenoviruses is a cytoplasmic non-coding RNA and it plays an important role for viral replication in infected cells. VAI RNA transcripts, produced by RNA polymerase III (pol III), form tightly structured stems, which confer resistance to cellular defense systems. We demonstrate here that small RNAs of approximately 22 nucleotides are produced from a terminal stem region but not from an apical stem of VAI RNA. We determined the processing sites of VAI RNA by S1 nuclease mapping and further confirmed that the processed small RNA can act as small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) or as microRNAs (miRNAs) in transient transfection assays and during viral infection. Our data demonstrate that non-coding RNAs synthesized by pol III can be substrates for Dicer, and diced small RNAs might regulate cellular phenomena as siRNAs and miRNAs.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2006 · FEBS Letters

Publication Stats

18k Citations
2,114.18 Total Impact Points


  • 2013
    • Tokyo University and Graduate School of Social Welfare
      Edo, Tōkyō, Japan
  • 2002-2009
    • National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
      • • Research Center for Medical Glycoscience
      • • Research Center for Stem Cell Engineering
      Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan
    • Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
      KMQ, Ishikawa, Japan
    • Okayama University
      • Faculty of Engineering
      Okayama-shi, Okayama-ken, Japan
  • 1999-2007
    • The University of Tokyo
      • • Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology
      • • Department of Neuroscience
      Tokyo, Tokyo-to, Japan
  • 1994-2006
    • University of Tsukuba
      • Institute of Applied Biochemistry
      Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan
    • University of California, Los Angeles
      • Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
      Los Ángeles, California, United States
  • 2005
    • Tohoku University
      • Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences
      Sendai-shi, Miyagi-ken, Japan
  • 2004
    • Sapporo Medical University
      Sapporo, Hokkaidō, Japan
  • 1993-2000
    • Advance Institute of Science and Technology
      Dehra, Uttarakhand, India
  • 1990-2000
    • Mohawk Innovative Technology, Inc.
      Albany, New York, United States
  • 1989-2000
    • Tsukuba Research Institute
      Edo, Tōkyō, Japan
  • 1996
    • Beijing Medical University
      Peping, Beijing, China
  • 1987-1988
    • Pennsylvania State University
      • Department of Chemistry
      University Park, MD, United States
    • William Penn University
      Worcester, Massachusetts, United States