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Establishment of a research base using organoids from non-model organisms

【LIFE SCIENCE】 Usui Team

  • Overview

    Recently, organoid culture has been developed as a method to culture biological tissues in three dimensions on a dish. The organoid culture method has been shown to be capable of reproducing the diversity and gene expression profiles of living tissues, including stem cells, and is being applied worldwide to various studies including cancer and infectious diseases. In this study, we have established an organoid culture method using companion animals such as ferrets, reptiles, and birds, zoo animals such as lions, and arthropod cells such as butterflies and ticks, by applying the technology we have cultivated through the production of 3D cultures derived from various animal cells. We will establish organoid culture methods using companion animals such as small birds, zoo animals such as lions, and arthropod cells such as butterflies and ticks, and clarify their usefulness as tools for pathological analysis and research on new infectious diseases transmitted by these animals and plants.

  • Approaches

    1) Academic background of the research
      Recently, the organoid culture method was developed as a method to culture biological tissues in three dimensions on a dish (Sato et al., Nature. 2009). The organoid culture method has been shown to be able to reproduce the diversity and gene expression profiles of living tissues, including stem cells, and is being applied worldwide to various studies, including cancer and infectious diseases. The principal investigators have constructed various three-dimensional culture models using tissues and urine from people and animals suffering from cancer and lifestyle-related diseases, and have conducted research aimed at elucidating pathological mechanisms and developing early diagnostic markers and novel therapeutic agents. However, we have yet to establish three-dimensional culture models using companion animals other than cats and dogs, zoo animals, and arthropods such as insects. However, we have not yet established three-dimensional culture models using arthropods such as companion animals other than cats and dogs, zoo animals, and insects. These culture models can be very important research subjects because they can be applied to various purposes, but there are almost no reports on the establishment of culture methods, which led to the planning of this study.

    (2) What and how much are we trying to clarify within the research period?
      In this research, we will establish an organoid culture method using companion animals such as ferrets, reptiles, and birds, zoo animals such as lions, and arthropod cells such as butterflies and ticks, by applying the technology we have cultivated through the production of three-dimensional cultures derived from various animal cells, and clarify its usefulness as a research tool for pathological analysis and new infectious diseases transmitted by these animals and plants.

  • Plan

    In the first year, each member of the research team will prepare cancer organoids from various non-model organisms and identify the optimal culture method. We will prepare cancer organoids from exotic animals (ferrets, snakes, hamsters, parakeets, lizards, etc.).To generate various 3D culture models from zoo animals, including bats and reptiles such as crocodiles.We will isolate and culture stem cells from the midgut glands of arthropods such as ticks, crayfish, and butterflies, which pose economic and environmental problems, and work with Usui to find the optimal culture method.

    In the next fiscal year, we will continue to develop the culture method.From the next fiscal year onwards, we will focus on organoids for which we have succeeded in establishing a culture method, and proceed with projects such as genetic analysis, infection experiments, and application to organ-on-a-chip systems. For organoids produced from exotic animals, we will clarify the histopathological characteristics and analyze gene expression, copy number, and mutation to elucidate the detailed pathological mechanism.

    In addition, we will isolate and cultivate viruses, bacteria, and fungi detected in companion animals, and conduct infection experiments on the organoids to clarify the detailed infection mechanism of each organoid, and establish a novel in vitro analysis tool as an alternative to infection experiments using living organisms.

    For zoo animal-derived organoids, we will analyze the results of infection experiments for each animal organoid to verify its usefulness as a model for infection experiments. In particular, bats are known to be vectors of various infectious diseases such as new coronaviruses and Ebola hemorrhagic fever virus, and their viral defense mechanisms in vivo are attracting attention. By creating organoids and conducting infection experiments with the organ-on-a-chip system, we will clarify the detailed regulatory mechanism by which wild animals such as bats become resistant to viruses as asymptomatic carriers of viruses.

Team Head

International Researcher(s)

Members

Tsutomu Omatsu  (Institute of Agriculture / Associate Professor)
Satoshi Koyama  (Institute of Agriculture / Associate Professor)

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