Hitoshi Okamura

Affiliation:Kyoto University Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Science

Research Title


Molecular mechanisms of circadian clock in mammals

01 Research Summary

Our lab focuses on molecular mechanisms of mammalian circadian clock. Since the end of the last century, we made important discoveries, including the identification of clock genes, the oscillation of clock in a single cell, and the clock-control of cell cycle. In recent years, we developed “SCN-Gene Project” to identify novel rhythm-regulating genes from the genes expressed in the SCN by the behavioral screening of knockout mice. Our team discovered that RNA methylation-dependent mRNA processing, circadian regulation of G protein signaling, genes important for jet-lag syndrome. and a novel steroidogenic gene causing salt-induced hypertension. Currently, we are trying to establish an experimental rhythm model in diurnal primates.


02 Major achievement

Doi M, Murai I, Kunisue S, Setsu G, Uchio N, Tanaka R, Kobayashi S, Shimatani H, Hayashi H, Chao HW, Nakagawa Y, Takahashi Y, Hotta Y, Yasunaga J, Matsuoka M, Hastings MH, Kiyonari H, Okamura H: Gpr176 is a Gz-linked orphan G-protein-coupled receptor that sets the pace of circadian behaviour. Nature Commun., 7, 10583, 2016.

Fustin JM, Doi M, Yamaguchi Y, Hayashi H, Nishimura S, Yoshida M, Isagawa T, Morioka MS, Kakeya H, Manabe I, Okamura H: RNA-methylation-dependent RNA processing controls the speed of the circadian clock. Cell, 155, 793-806, 2013.

Yamaguchi Y, Suzuki T, Mizoro Y, Kori H, Okada K, Chen Y, Fustin JM, Yamazaki F, Mizuguchi N, Zhang J, Dong X, Tsujimoto G, Okuno Y, Doi M, Okamura H: Mice genetically deficient in Vasopressin V1a and V1b receptors are resistant to jet lag. Science, 342, 85-90, 2013.

03 Education/Academic background and major awards

Education/Academic background

1979 Graduate from Faculty of Medicine of Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine (Kyoto)
1979–1981 Resident in Pediatrics in Children's Medical Center of Okayama National Hospital (Okayama)
1981–1995 Assistant Professor (1981–1987), Associate Professor (1987–1990), Senior associate Professor (1988–1995) of Graduate from Faculty of Medicine of Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine (Kyoto)
1987–1989 Chercheur Etranger du INSERM (Claude Bernard/Lyon) et Chercheur Associe du CNRS (Gif-sur-Yvette) (France).
1995–2008 Professor in Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Department of Brain Sciences
2007-Present Professor in Kyoto University, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Science, Department of Systems Biology
2014-Present Research Director of the Japan Science Technology Institute, CREST.


1999 Tsukahara-Nakaakira Prize
2001 Inoue Prize
2003 Medical Prize in Japan Medical Association
2004 Iuye Science Prize
2007 Medal with Purple Ribbon
2009 Aschoff’s Rule Prize
2016 Toray Science and Technology Prize