Ichiro Masai


BSc, MSc, PhD (University of Tokyo)




1988    BSc, Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, University of Tokyo,

1990    MSc, Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, University of Tokyo

1994    PhD, Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, University of Tokyo

Research and Professional Experience

1992    Research Associate, Laboratory of Genetics, University of Tokyo

1995    Research fellow (HFSP long-term fellowship), King’s College London

1998    Research fellow, RIKEN Brain Science Institute

2000    PRESTO researcher, JST

2001    Unit Leader, Masai Initiative Research Unit, RIKEN

2006    Principal Investigator, OIST

2011    Associate Professor, OIST Graduate University

2019    Professor, OIST Graduate University

Selected Publications

Sugiyama, Y., Reed, D., Herrmann, D., Lovicu, F., Robinson, M.L., Timpson, P., and Masai, I. (2024) Fibroblast Growth Factor-induced lens fiber elongation is driven by the stepwise activity of Rho and Rac. Development, In the Press.

Babu, S., Takeuchi, Y. and Masai, I. (2022) Banp regulates DNA damage response and chromosome segregation during the cell cycle in zebrafish retina. eLife. 11:e74611. doi: 10.7554/eLife.74611.

Ahmed, M, Kojima, Y., and Masai, I. (2022) Strip1 regulates retinal ganglion cell survival by suppressing Jun-mediated apoptosis to promote neural curcuit formation. eLife. 11:e74650. doi:10.7554/eLife.74650.

Ranawat, N., and Masai, I. (2021) Mechanism underlying microglial colonization of developing neural retina in zebrafish. eLife. 10:e70550. doi:10.7554/eLife.70550.

Nishiwaki, Y., and Masai, I. (2020) β-SNAP activity in the outer segment growth period is critical for preventing BNip1-dependent apoptosis in zebrafish photoreceptors. Sci. Rep. 10: 17379.

Iribarne, M., Hyde, D. R. and Masai, I. (2019) TNFa induces Müller glia to transition from non-proliferative gliosis to a regenerative response in mutant zebrafish presenting chronic photoreceptor degeneration. Front. Cell Dev. Biol. 7, 296. DOI:10.3389/fcell.2019.00296

Mochizuki, T., Kojima, Y., Nishiwaki, Y., Harakuni, T., and Masai, I. (2018) Endocytic trafficking factor VPS45 is essential for spatial regulation of lens fiber differentiation in zebrafish. Development, 145, pii dev170282.

Iribarne, M. Nishiwaki, Y., Nakamura, S., Araragi, M., Oguri, E. and Masai, I. (2017) Aipl1 is required for cone photoreceptor function and survival through the stability of Pde6c and Gc3 in zebrafish. Sci. Rep. 7:45962. 

Mochizuki, T., Luo, Y. J. Tsai, H. F. Hagiwara, A., and Masai, I. (2017) Cell division and cadherin-mediated adhesion regulates lens epithelial cell movement in zebrafish. Development 144, 708 – 719.

Nishiwaki, Y., Yoshizawa, A., Kojima, Y., Oguri, E., Nakamura, S., Suzuki, S., Yuasa-Kawada, J., Kinoshita-Kawada, M., Mochizuki, T., and Masai, I. (2013). The BH3-only SNARE BNip1 mediates photoreceptor apoptosis in response to vesicular fusion defects. Dev. Cell 25, 374 – 387.

Imai, F., Yoshizama, A., Fujimori-Tonou, N., Masai, I. (2010) The ubiquitin proteasome system is required for cell-cycle progression of the lens epithelium and differentiation of lens fiber cells in zebrafish. Development 137, 3257-3268.

Yamaguchi M, Fujimori-Tonou N, Yoshimura Y, Kishi T, Okamoto H, Masai I. (2008) Mutation of DNA primase causes extensive apoptosis of retinal neurons through the activation of DNA damage checkpoint and tumor suppressor p53. Development 135, 1247-1257.

Yamaguchi M, Tonou-Fujimori N, Komori A, Maeda R, Nojima Y, Li H, Okamoto H, Masai I. (2005). Histone deacetylase 1 regulates retinal neurogenesis in zebrafish by suppressing Wnt and Notch signaling pathways. Development 132, 3027-3043.

Masai I, Yamaguchi M, Tonou-Fujimori N, Komori A, Okamoto H. (2005) The hedgehog-PKA pathway regulates two distinct steps of the differentiation of retinal ganglion cells: the cell-cycle exit of retinoblasts and their neuronal maturation. Development 132, 1539-1553.

Masai I, Lele Z, Yamaguchi M, Komori A, Nakata A, Nishiwaki Y, Wada H, Tanaka H, Nojima Y, Hammerschmidt M, Wilson SW, Okamoto H. (2003) N-cadherin mediates retinal lamination, maintenance of forebrain compartments and patterning of retinal neurites. Development 130, 2479-2494.

Masai I, Stemple DL, Okamoto H, Wilson SW. (2000) Midline signals regulate retinal neurogenesis in zebrafish. Neuron 27, 251-263.

Masai I, Heisenberg CP, Barth KA, Macdonald R, Adamek S, Wilson SW. (1997) floating head and masterblind regulate neuronal patterning in the roof of the forebrain. Neuron 18, 43-57.

Masai I, Okazaki A, Hosoya T, Hotta Y. (1993) Drosophila retinal degeneration A gene encodes an eye-specific diacylglycerol kinase with cysteine-rich zinc-finger motifs and ankyrin repeats. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 90, 11157-11161.

Masai I, Hosoya T, Kojima S, Hotta Y. (1992) Molecular cloning of a Drosophila diacylglycerol kinase gene that is expressed in the nervous system and muscle. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 89, 6030-6034.