National Cerebral and Cardiovascular


Research Institute

Department of Cell Biology



DirectorNaoki Mochizuki
Laboratory ChiefHiroyuki Nakajima
Hajime Fukui
Staff ScientistKeisuke Sako
Postdoctoral FellowMoe Fukumoto
Graduate StudentGui Ning



Aim of our research group is to understand the molecular mechanism underlying cardiovascular development. Closed circulation consists of heart, vessels, and blood. These three organs are thought to originate from mesoderm. Therefore, lineage tracing and visualization of development of these organs enable us to understand how cardiovascular system develops.
We use zebrafish as a model to obtain live imaging that help us to observe the structural changes during early embryogenesis that require 4-5 days to establish circulation. Moreover, by developing transcription-dependent fluorescence reporter transgenic fish, we can monitor how cardiovascular development is transcriptionally regulated. Cell proliferation, differentiation, and migration that are essential for development are monitored by high resolution microscopy and light-sheet microscopy when we observe beating heart and sprouting angiogenesis.
Recent advances of combination of imaging and single cell analysis allow us to molecules that contribute to cardiovascular development. Using cluster analyses, we can seek for special groups of cells for cardiogenesis, valvulogenesis, and angiogenesis. By comparing the gene and protein expression between zebrafish and mice, we can pick up essential regulation for cardiovascular development.
We further investigate the regeneration of organs using adult Danionella fish that are transparent like as embryos of zebrafish. The fish will help us to explore the pathogenesis and physiological organ adaptation of the adult fish that have been affected by their circumstances.



  1. Fukui H, Chow RW, Xie J, Foo YY, Yap CH, Minc N, Mochizuki N, Vermot J. Bioelectric signaling and the control of cardiac cell identity in response to mechanical forces. 2021 Oct 15;374(6565):351-354. doi: 10.1126/science.abc6229.
  2. Watanabe-Takano H, Ochi H, Chiba A, Matsuo A, Kanai Y, Fukuhara S, Ito N, Sako K, Miyazaki T, Tainaka K, Harada I, Sato S, Sawada Y, Minamino N, Takeda S, Ueda HR, Yasoda A, Mochizuki N. Mechanical load regulates bone growth via periosteal Osteocrin. Cell Rep. 2021 Jul 13;36(2):109380. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109380.
  3. Nakajima H, Chiba A, Fukumoto M, Morooka N, Mochizuki N. Zebrafish Vascular Development: General and Tissue-Specific Regulation. J Lipid Atheroscler. 2021 May;10(2):145-159. doi: 10.12997/jla.2021.10.2.145. Epub 2021 Mar 2.
  4. Kondrychyn I, Kelly DJ, Carretero NT, Nomori A, Kato K, Chong J, Nakajima H, Okuda S, Mochizuki N, Phng LK.  Marcksl1 modulates endothelial cell mechanoresponse to haemodynamic forces to control blood vessel shape and size Nat Commun. 2020 Oct 30;11(1):5476. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-19308-5.
  5. Fukushima Y, Nishiyama K, Kataoka H, Fruttiger M, Fukuhara S, Nishida K, Mochizuki N, Kurihara H, Nishikawa SI, Uemura A. RhoJ integrates attractive and repulsive cues in directional migration of endothelial cells. EMBO J. 2020 Jun 17;39(12):e102930. doi: 10.15252/embj.2019102930. Epub 2020 Apr 29.

last updated : 2023/10/05

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