【Awards and Commendations】Shinichiro Akichika (Ph.D student), Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, received “JSPS Ikushi Prize”.

On 28th January 2020, Shinichiro Akichika (Ph.D student), Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, received “JSPS Ikushi Prize”

In 2009, JSPS received an endowment from His Majesty the Emperor Emeritus Akihito on the 20th year of his reign. Amidst a severe economic environment in Japanese society, His Majesty’s desire was to encourage and support young scientists who are working diligently to advance their studies and research.
In deference to his wishes, JSPS established the JSPS Ikushi Prize program and placed it into operation in FY 2010. It functions to formally recognize outstanding doctoral students who can be expected to contribute to Japan’s future scientific advancement.
(Quoted from

●About awarded research
「Identification and functional analysis of the cap-specific m6A methyltransferase」
mRNA is transcribed from genome DNA and matures through several processing events including 5' capping, splicing and 3' polyadenylation. Recent studies using deep sequencing methods detected several species of chemical modifications in eukaryotic mRNAs and revealed the importance of N6-methyladenosine(m6A) modification in mRNA metabolism and diverse functions. In addition to the internal m6A, N6-2'-O-dimethyladenosine(m6Am) is present at the transcription start nucleotide of capped mRNAs in vertebrates. However, its biogenesis and functional role remain elusive. In this study, we identified the enzyme responsible for N6-methylation of m6Am and named the enzyme as CAPAM. Biochemical analysis of CAPAM suggested that CAPAM is recruited to the early elongation complex of RNA polymerase II and forms m6Am modification co-transcriptionally. As a functional role of m6Am modification, we found that N6-methylation of m6Am promotes the translation of capped mRNAs.

It's a great honor to receive this poster award. I would like to thank Prof. Tsutomu Suzuki, collaborators and all members of Suzuki laboratory. I'd like to continue to push forward my research.