謹賀新年! A Happy New Year!

from The Okabes



I retired in March 2013 and really felt like a "graduate" when presented with a diploma from Osaka University conferring professor emeritus status. I am deeply grateful to all those who supported me over the years.



Finally! Time to begin family trips! We took my convertible to Kyushu's Miyazaki/Kagoshima prefectures via overnight ferry in October 2013, enjoying the sunny southern skies until... Sakurajima volcano erupted repeatedly, once even showering us with ash as we approached its foothills. Excitement escalated on the high seas going home as our ship's captain tried to outrun a typhoon dogging our heels. James Bond's got nothing on the Okabes when it comes to thrills!




Did I say "retired?" Well, everything is relative, right? I am budgeted at least through March 2015 as a post doc, tethered to my former department within the RIMD (Research Institute for Microbial Diseases).

I moved to the 7th floor of the brand-new 9-floor RIMD building in September 2013. The lab in which I am working as a post doc is essentially housed on the 2nd floor, so I make several round trips daily beween the two floors, as I do all of my benchwork on the 2nd floor. I never use the elevator, so all of this time on the stairs has really helped my thigh muscles. I hope it improves my tennis game!



Stephanieは友人のアメリカ人の女性が立ち上げた翻訳会社で翻訳のお手伝いをして大忙しです。会社は神奈川にありますがインターネットの時代にはどこで仕事をするかは問題になりません。日本語能力が大いに役立っています。京都方面が詳しいので休日に案内してもらっています。 これで私も少しは詳しくなる?

Stephanie has stretched her own muscles (err - the little gray cells, at least...) by helping out with a friend's translation company. Although she started out strictly as an editor, her boss has loosened the reins and increasingly turns over pure translation these days. In late December 2013, she and I explored the hills overlooking Kyoto. Despite the stark winter season, one hillside (below, in southern Kyoto) is perpetually a startling orange thanks to1,000 torii gates, while another is topped off by lively and adorable monkeys who simply love to make new friends (left, in the western Arashiyama district). As you can see, we are trying to stay fit during the New Year holiday!



Kye is currently in his 2nd year in the Stanford University electrical engineering masters program. His friend Shun (who also hails from Minoh) visited him in Palo Alto in November 2013. Kye is at left, wearing purple.



My mother turns 93 during this holiday - on January 3rd. She enjoys our weekly trips to the grocery store, and is now a Starbucks latte connoisseur. She waves (at right) each morning as I depart for the lab, a 10-minute bicycle ride from home.




Each of us will try hard to accomplish our respective 2014 goals.



我々はノックアウトの結果にもとづいて他の研究者の論文を否定する発言をすることが多かったのですが、共同研究で出したAngiotensin Converting Enzyme(ACE)には蛋白質を切断する以外に、GPI-anchorタンパク質のアンカー部分を切断するというNature Medicinの論文には2箇所からそんなことはないという反論が次の号のNature Medicinに掲載され自分の論文に?マークを付けられてしまいました。それをGPI-ancorタンパク質であるTEX-101をノックアウトしたマウスが解決してくれました。結論だけを書くとTEX101はACEの基質であり、ACEがそれを切断しないかぎり受精能を持つ精子ができないことがわかりました。下記の論文はさらにそのフォローアップでLY6K/TEX101がペアになって精子の受精能形成に働くことと極めて重要に見えるADAM3が必ずしも受精の必須因子ではないかもしれないという可能性を提起した論文です。
Fujihara, Y., Okabe, M. and Ikawa, M. GPI-Anchored Protein Complex, LY6K/TEX101, Is Required for Sperm Migration into the Oviduct and Male Fertility in Mice. Biology of Reproduction 90, 60, doi:10.1095/biolreprod.113.112888 (2014).