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Ishikawa Prefectural University

Teaching Staff Information

Mitsuru Ebihara Associate Professor



  • E-mail: ebihara[at]ishikawa-pu.ac.jp ※Please change [at] to @

Affiliated Departments
Undergraduate Faculty Department of Food Science Basic Food Sciences Group  
Graduate School:
Master’s Degree Course
Division of Food Science Biomolecular Function Research Field Molecular Biology
Graduate School:
Doctoral Degree Course
Division of Sciences for Biofunction Development Food Science Research Field Molecular Biology

Subjects taught
Undergraduate Faculty Introduction to Biochemistry, Molecular biology, Exercise in food science II, Laboratory for biochemistry, Laboratory for organic chemistry

Introduction to Biochemistry
All the students in our university should learn about biochemistry, which is basic research field to understand biology at molecular level. The aim is to fully understand chemical and biological properties of biomolecules and metabolisms in microorganisms, animals and plants.

Molecular biology
Molecular biology is not only for researchers, but also for all the people, since human genome project had been almost completed in 2001. We are supposed to deeply know about life science technology. From this point of view, aim of this lecture is to learn basic knowledge and application of molecular biology.

Graduate School:
Master’s Degree Course
Advanced course on bioresources and environmental science, Advanced course on biomolecular functionalities, Exercise in food science I
Academic Societies/Awards/Background
Background 11/1990 to 3/1995 Assistant Professor The University of Tokyo
4/1995 to 5/1999 Research Fellow Imperial Cancer Research Fund
6/1999 to 3/2003 Research Fellow Riken, Japan
4/2003 to 3/2004 Assistant Professor Kyoto University
4/2004 to 3/2005 Research Fellow McGill University and Montreal University
4/2005 Associate Professor Ishikawa Prefectural University
Academic Societies/
Molecular biology society of Japan, Japanese association for the study of taste and smell, Japan society for bioscience, biotechnology, and agrochemistry, Zoological society of Japan
Awards 2012 Best paper award (Japanese association for the study of taste and smell)

Primary Research
Research Fields Molecular biology, Cell biology
Keywords taste receptors, genetic test, protein-protein interaction, paternal test, sex differentiation, marine mammals, Kaga vegetables, polymorphism analysis, triplet repeats, sensory evaluation
Research Topics
  • Function of homopolymeric amino acid (HPAA)

    More than 1% of proteins contain HPAA in their sequences. Homopolymeric glutamine (polyQ) in the Huntingtin gene is known to cause Huntington’s disease by its expansion. Recently polyA diseases have been reported as well. The phox2b is one of the polyA contained genes which is associated with various diseases. Surprisingly, Phox2b retains its function when contraction or deletion of polyA region in the phox2b occurred, but drastically loses by its expansion. The aim of this research is why the phox2b gene loses its function by expansion, not by deletion, how its function is recovered by drug treatment.

  • Function of polyL in the taste receptor gene, T1R1 and T1R3

    As mentioned above, HPAA has important role in protein function, but it has not been known how they work as a functional domain. We found homopolymeric leucine (polyL) structure in the taste umami receptor, T1R1 and T1R3, which recognize umami, such as glutamate. In mammals, omnivorous animals have relatively longer polyL structure in the T1R1 gene, but carnivorous animals strictly have 5 leucine repeat, suggesting association between the number of polyL and function. Function of polyL in the umami receptor and association of polyL with food preference are one of the main targets in our lab.

  • Functional analysis of mammalian taste receptors

    Speaking of food preference, we always think about ourselves which are human, but most of mammals have strong food preference, such as carnivorous and herbivorous animals. The question is why herbivorous animals do not eat meat at all. The simple answer is because they don’t think it tastes good. But why does meat taste so bad for herbivorous animals? We assume that their taste receptors for certain taste(s) don’t work properly. Comparison of structure and function of taste receptors among carnivorous and herbivorous animals may give us an answer for this question.

  • Paternity test on mammals and birds

    There are four roles in zoological park, which are 1) recreation, 2) education, 3) research and 4) breeding of endangered animals. To maintain the relatively small number of animals in the zoo, it should be very important to know lineage or pedigree. Offspring from close relatives may have low tolerance to environmental change. This strongly suggested that development of paternity test must be useful for breeding of endangered animals. Now we are collaborating with Ishikawa Zoological Park and tried to establish paternity test for various endangered animals.

  • DNA polymorphism on Kaga vegetables

    Recently consumers always worry about safety and traceability of their food, because of some food scandals on beef, sweeties and so on. To solve this problem, formers put their photos on their products, but some retailers cheated by putting on their own photo on them. DNA technology may give possible solution on these food scandals. By using DNA technology such as SNP detection or microsatellite DNA polymorphism, we can distinguish apparently the same vegetables from the others. This technology may be able to save so-called “Brand Vegetables.” The establishments of detection methods for most of Kaga vegetables, which are brand vegetable in Ishikawa area, are expected. We study on new methods for detecting genetically modified organisms as well.

Research Achievements

Social Contributions
Areas of scientific/technological support/advice Genetic analysis, determination of bird sex, detection of GMO
Previous accomplishments Lecturer in Ishikawa City College
Adviser in Ishikawa Zoo
Genetic analysis of tiger beetle

Expectations of Students Love to know, then step forward a bit. It’s good enough.
Teaching goals Human being is only one creature to find it interesting by knowing something.

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