Senior Research Associate



A relatively small number of intercellular signaling molecules, such as the evolutionarily conserved Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP), are used repeatedly to create complex body architectures and to maintain homeostasis. BMP acts as a morphogen in a variety of tissues and regulates many developmental events, such as early embryonic axis specification, limb patterning, and stem cell maintenance. The concept of the morphogen gradient is one of the essential cornerstones of modern developmental biology. A morphogen provides positional information to cells in a developmental field and specifies different cell fates in a concentration dependent manner. As a central model for morphogen actions, the BMP2/4-like ligand Decapentaplegic (DPP) directs distinct cell fates in the developing Drosophila wing disc by forming a long-range signaling gradient from a row of its expressing cells. However, the molecular mechanisms by which the endogenous BMP ligand generates the stable activity gradient remain largely unspecified. The goal of my work is to understand how the BMP ligands move across a field of cells and establish an activity gradient.





Ph.D., Microbiology, Tokyo Metropolitan University (2003)

M.S., Biology, Tokyo Metropolitan University (2000)





Senior Research Associate

Dr. Matthew Gibson

Stowers Institute for Medical Research

Kansas City, MO



Post-doctoral Associate

Dr. Kristi Wharton

Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry

Brown University, RI



Post-doctoral Associate

Dr. Hiroshi Nakato

Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development

University of Minnesota, MN






Decapentaplegic and growth control in the developing Drosophila wing.

Akiyama, T. and Gibson, M.C.

Nature. 2015. 527: 375–378.

PubMed   ODR


Morphogen transport: Theoretical and experimental controversies.

Akiyama, T. and Gibson, M.C.

WIREs Developmental Biology. 2015. 4(2): 99-112.



A large bioactive BMP ligand with distinct signaling properties is produced by alternative proconvertase processing.

Akiyama, T., Marqués, G., and Wharton, K.A.

Science Signaling. 2012. 5(218): ra28.



Novel contact-dependent bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling mediated by heparan sulfate proteoglycans.

Dejima, K., Kanai, M.I., Akiyama, T., Levings, D.C., and Nakato, H.

Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2011. 286: 17103-17111.



Dally regulates Dpp morphogen gradient formation by stabilizing Dpp on the cell surface.

Akiyama, T., Firkus, C., Takeo, S., Shimmi, O., and Nakato, H.

Developmental Biology. 2008. 313: 408-419.



Expression of a secreted form of Dally, a Drosophila glypican, induces overgrowth phenotype by affecting action range of Hedgehog.

*Takeo, S. and *Akiyama, T., Firkus, C., Aigaki, T., Nakato, H. (*contributed equally)

Developmental Biology. 2005. 284: 204-218.






Gibson Lab

1000 East 50th Street

Kansas City, MO 64110