Masato Hasegawa, the Head of Department of Brain and Neurosciences, studies the molecular pathogenesis and progression of neurodegenerative diseases. He started working on Alzheimer’s disease at Yasuo Ihara’s lab in 1988 where he identified phosphorylation and ubiquitination sites in tau. In 1995, he joined Michel Goedert’s lab at MRC LMB where he and others demonstrated that alpha-synuclein is the major component of filamentous inclusions in Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. He next joined Takeshi Iwatsubo’s group in 1999 where he identified phosphorylation and ubiquitination of alpha-synuclein. In 2006, while at the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Psychiatry, he collaborated with Tetsuaki Arai and found that phosphorylated TDP-43 accumulates in frontotemporal dementias and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. More recently, he has been studying the prion-like spread of neurodegenerative disease-associated proteins.
In cells, ubiquitin governs the life and death of various proteins and cell organelles as a factor that determines their fate. In recent years, it has been suggested that ubiquitin abnormalities are closely related to various diseases including Parkinson’s.
This project, along with elucidating ubiquitin’s role in the body, which until now has been shrouded in mystery, seeks to reveal its association with neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s.
Project Leader Masato Hasegawa