Kazuhiko Igarashi, MD, PhD

Kazuhiko Igarashi

Professor, Division of Biochemistry, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine


  • Deputy Director of the GCOE program

Education and Career

  • PhD, Tohoku University School of Medicine, 1991
  • Research Associate, The University of Chicago, 1991
  • Assistant Professor, Tohoku University, 1993
  • Lecturer, Tsukuba University, 1995
  • Associate Professor, Tohoku University, 1998
  • Professor, Hiroshima University School of Medicine, 1999
  • Professor, Tohoku University, 2005

Research Project

  • Our genome encodes at least 25,000 genes, which can potentially generate 225,000 spaces of gene expression. Our primary interest is in the specification of gene expression spaces by transcription factors in the context of hematopoietic cell differentiation, stress and immune responses, and diseases like cancer. By focusing on transcription factors such as Bach, Maf, and p53 as well as some of the chromatin modifying enzymes, we try to understand architecture and dynamics of regulatory protein networks and of regulator-target gene networks.
  • We employ two strategies. First, we purify various protein complexes of regulators from diverse cells and identify their components using cutting-edge mass spectrometry technologies. Thus we generate protein-interacting networks for gene expression spaces. Second, we combine gene knockout/knockdown, expression profiling, and chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments to reveal regulator-target gene networks. We integrate two sets of data to generate meta-networks of gene expression spaces for hematopoiesis and stress/immune responses to reveal their de-regulation in diseases.

Major publication/prize

  1. Oyake, T., Itoh, K., Motohashi, H., Hayashi, N., Hoshino, H., Nishizawa, M., Yamamoto, M., and Igarashi, K. Bach proteins belong to a novel family of BTB-basic leucine zipper transcription factors that interact with MafK and regulate transcription through the NF-E2 site. Mol. Cell. Biol. 16, 6083-6095 (1996).
  2. Sun, J., Hoshino, H., Takaku, K., Nakajima, O., Muto, A., Suzuki, H., Tashiro, S., Takahashi, S., Shibahara, S., Alam, J., Taketo, M. M., Yamamoto, M. and Igarashi, K. Hemoprotein Bach1 regulates enhancer availability of heme oxygenase-1 gene. EMBO J. 21, 5216-5224 (2002)
  3. Muto, A., Tashiro, S., Nakajima, O., Hoshino, H., Takahashi, S., Sakoda, E., Ikebe, D., Yamamoto, M., and Igarashi, K. The transcriptional programme of antibody class switching involves the repressor Bach2. Nature 429, 566-571 (2004)
  4. Zenke-Kawasaki, Y., Dohi, Y., Katoh, Y., Ikura, T., Ikura, M., Asahara, T., Tokunaga, F., Iwai, K., and Igarashi, K. Heme induces ubiquitination and degradation of the transcription factor Bach1. Mol. Cell. Biol. 27, 6962-6971 (2007)
  5. JSPS Prize, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science(2006)


  • igarak[atmark]


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Tohoku University Global COE for Conquest of Signal Transduction Diseases with Network Medicine