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Kunimasa Ohta

Kunimasa Ohta, Ph.D.
Division of Developmental Neurobiology
Graduate School of Life Sciences
Kumamoto University
1-1-1 Honjo
Chuo-ku Kumamoto 860-8556 JAPAN
Tel: +81-96-373-5293
Fax: +81-96-373-5293

Present Position
Associate Professor,
Division of Developmental Neurobiology
Graduate School of Life Sciences
Kumamoto University


  • Society for Neuroscience
  • International Society for Stem Cell Research
  • The Japanese Society of Developmental Biologists
  • The Japan Neuroscience Society
  • The Molecular Biology Society of Japan

Editorial Boards

  • Development, Growth, & Differentiation, 2009-present
  • Journal of Cell Communication and Signaling


  • Uehara Memorial Foundation for Young Investigator, 1997
  • EMBO Fellowship for Young Investigator, 1998
  • Kumamoto Medical Awards for Young Investigator, 2004

Research Themes

  • The role of soluble molecules (Tsukushi, Akhirin, and Equarin) during development
  • The generation of multipotential cells by lactic acid bacteria

Selected Recent Publications

  • Song, X., Sato, Y., Sekiguchi, K., Tanaka, H., and Ohta, K.
    Equarin is involved in cell adhesion via heparin sulfate proteoglycan during lens development.
    Dev. Dyn. 2013; 242:23-29.
  • Niimori, D., Kawano R., Felemban, A., Niimori-Kita, K., Tanaka, H., Ihn, H., and Ohta, K.
    Tsukushi controls the hair cycle by regulating TGF-beta 1 signaling.
    Dev. Biol. 2012; 372:81-87.
  • Ohta, K., Kawano, R., and Ito, N.
    Lactic acid bacteria convert human fibroblasts to multipotent cells.
    PLOS ONE 2012; 7(12):e51866.
  • Song, X., Sato, Y., Felemban, A., Ito, A., Hossain, M., Ochiai, H., Yamamoto, T., Sekiguchi, K., Tanaka, H., and Ohta, K.
    Equarin is involved as an FGF signaling modulator in chick lens differentiation.
    Dev. Biol. 2012; 368:109-117.
  • Ohta, K., Ito, A., Kuriyama, S., Lupo, G., Kosaka, M., Ohnuma, S., Nakagawa, S., and Tanaka, H.
    Tsukushi functions as a Wnt signaling inhibitor by competing with Wnt2b for binding to Frizzled4.
    Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2011; 108:14962-14967.
  • Ito, A., Shinmyo, Y., Abe, T., Oshima, N., Tanaka, H., and Ohta, K.
    Tsukushi is required for anterior commissure formation in the mouse brain.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 2010; 402:813-818.
  • Ohta, K., Ito, A., and Tanaka, H.
    Neuronal stem cells in the vertebrate eye.
    Develop. Growth Differ. 2008; 50:253-259. Review.
  • Ohta, K., Kuriyama, S., Okafuji, T., Gejima, R., Ohnuma, S., and Tanaka, H.
    Tsukushi cooperates with VG1 to induce primitive streak and HensenÅfs node formation in the chick embryo.
    Development 2006; 133:3777-3786.
  • Kuriyama, S., Lupo, G., Ohta, K., Harris, W.A., Ohnuma, S., and Tanaka, H.
    Tsukushi controls ectodermal patterning and neural crest specification in Xenopus by direct regulation of BMP4 and X-delta-1 activity.
    Development 2006; 133:75-88.
  • Ahsan, M., Ohta, K., Kuriyama, S., and Tanaka, H.
    Novel soluble molecule, Akhirin, is expressed in the embryonic chick eyes and exhibits heterophilic cell-adhesion activity.
    Dev. Dyn. 2005; 233:95-104.
  • Ohta, K., Lupo, G., Kuriyama, S., Keynes, R., Holt, C.E., Harris, W.A., Tanaka, H., and Ohnuma, S.
    Tsukushi functions as a novel organizer inducer by inhibition of BMP activity in cooperation with chordin.
    Dev. Cell 2004; 7(3):347-358.
  • Mu, H., Ohta, K., Kuriyama, S., Shimada, N., Tanihara, H., Yasuda, K., and Tanaka, H.
    Equarin, a novel soluble molecule expressed with polarity at chick embryonic lens equator, is involved in eye formation.
    Mech. Dev. 2003; 120:143-155.
  • Ohta, K., Tannahill, D., Yoshida, K., Johnson, A.R., Cook, G.M.W., and Keynes, R.J.
    Embryonic lens repels retinal ganglion cell axons.
    Dev. Biol. 1999; 211(1):124-132.