Molecular Immunology

TEL +81-6-6879-8306

FAX +81-6-6879-8308


The immune system uses a wide range of receptors for the protection against pathogens and their clearance. Innate immune receptors elicit rapid responses, while a more complex one is triggered by adaptive immune receptors. The analysis of the C-type lectin family of innate immune receptors has made significant progress in the past decade. We have found that these receptors can sense both “damaged self” and “non-self pathogens”. Notably, our team showed that Mincle, MCL, Dectin-2 and DCAR are C-type lectin receptors that recognize mycobacteria. Our objective is to identify and study novel immunoreceptors and their ligands, in order to elucidate the mechanisms underlying ligand recognition as well as their potential roles in immune disorders. Based on these results, we also aim to design new methods to orient the immune responses. To this end, our research centers on the following axes:

  1. Significance and mechanisms of recognition of “aberrant self” or “non-self pathogens” by C-type lectin family receptors
  2. Identification of “self” through the TCR as well as its role in T cell development
  3. Study of newly discovered T cell subsets involved in autoimmune diseases.

Principal Investigator

Sho Yamasaki Professor

Research field

Immune regulation through ITAM-coupled receptors

Education history

1991 B.S., Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan
1993 M.S., Agriculture, Kyoto University
1999 Ph.D., Division of Applied Life Science, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University

Research and career history

1993 Research Scientist, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation
1999 Assistant Professor, Chiba University Graduate School of Medicine
2004 Senior Scientist, RIKEN, Research Institute for Allergy and Immunology (RCAI)
2009 Professor, Medical Institute of Bioregulation, Kyushu University
2017 Professor, Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, Osaka University
2017 Professor, Immunology Frontier Research Center (IFReC), Osaka University


2007 Japanese Society for Immunology (JSI) Young Investigator Award
2011 Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Award
2016 The Commendation for Science and Technology by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)
2016 The Saburo Kojima Memorial Award
2018 The JSI Award 2018
2022 Hideyo Noguchi Memorial Prize


  • Sho Yamasaki Professor
  • Norikazu Yabuta  Associate Professor
  • Eri Ishikawa Assistant Professor
  • Masamichi Nagae
  • Masatsugu Ohora Guest Associate Professor
  • Kensuke Shibata Visiting Academic Staff



  • Nagata, et al. Intracellular metabolite β-glucosylceramide is an endogenous Mincle ligand possessing immunostimulatory activity. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 2017
  • Behler, et al. C-type Lectin Mincle Recognizes Glucosyl-diacylglycerol of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Plays a Protective Role in Pneumococcal Pneumonia. PLoS Pathog. 2016
  • Ishikawa, et al. Recognition of Mycobacterial Lipids by Immune Receptors. Trends Immunol. 2016
  • Toyonaga, et al. C-Type Lectin Receptor DCAR Recognizes Mycobacterial Phosphatidyl-Inositol Mannosides to Promote a Th1 Response during Infection. Immunity 2016
  • Ishikawa, et al. Protein kinase D regulates positive selection of CD4+ thymocytes through phosphorylation of SHP-1. Nat. Commun. 2016
  • Yonekawa, et al. Dectin-2 is a direct receptor for mannose-capped lipoarabinomannan of mycobacteria. Immunity 2014
  • Miyake, et al. C-type lectin MCL is an FcRγ-coupled receptor that mediates the adjuvanticity of mycobacterial cord factor. Immunity 2013
  • Ishikawa, et al. Identification of distinct ligands for the C-type lectin receptors Mincle and Dectin-2 in the pathogenic fungus Malassezia. Cell Host Microbe 2013
  • Ishikawa, et al. Germ-line elimination of electric charge on pre-T-cell receptor (TCR) impairs autonomous signaling for beta-selection and TCR repertoire formation. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 2010
  • Ishikawa, et al. Direct recognition of the mycobacterial glycolipid, trehalose dimycolate, by C-type lectin Mincle. J. Exp. Med. 2009
  • Yamasaki, et al. C-type lectin Mincle is an activating receptor for pathogenic fungus, Malassezia. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 2009
  • Yamasaki, et al. Mincle is an ITAM-coupled activating receptor that senses damaged cells. Nat. Immunol. 2008
  • Yamasaki, Molecular basis for pre-TCR-mediated autonomous signaling. Trends. Immunol. 2007
  • Yamasaki, Mechanistic basis of pre-T cell receptor-mediated autonomous signaling critical for thymocyte development. Nat. Immunol. 2006