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WATANABE Mineo, Ph.D. / Professor

Division of Microbiology and Molecular Cell Biology

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Research Topics

1. Development of new vaccines for pertussis control.

2. Development of effective vaccines against Buruli ulcer and nontuberculous Mycobacteria.

3. Role of small molecules produced by pathogenic bacteria in infection.

In spite of high coverage of pertussis vaccination, pertussis cases have been increasing worldwide since the 1990s. To quit the situation, we should fix or change the past strategies of pertussis control. Pertussis can be caused by infection of Bordetella pertussis, B. parapertussis, and B. holmesii. However, current vaccines have a protective effect to B. pertussis infection only.
We focus the development of new effective vaccines to all human Bordetella.
Also, we are interested in Buruli ulcer, which is a mycobacteriosis seen mostly around West Africa. The neglected tropical disease hurts skins by making severe ulcers. Antibiotics treatment against the disease takes more than several months, so it is difficult to complete it for people in that area. We believe effective vaccination should be considered for successful control of Buruli ulcer. We are trying to develop vaccines to stop the disease.
Another important theme for us is small molecules produced by pathogenic bacteria. We found Bordetella organisms secrete riboflavin and other small molecules. We are trying to clarify the role and mechanism of the molecules in pathogenesis. Also, we are interested in mycolactone, which is a toxin produced by Mycobacterium ulcerans. The toxin may help the development of new drugs for allergy.

Representative Publications

1. Kamachi K, Otsuka N, Fumimoto R, Ozawa K, Yao SM, Chiang CS, Luu LDW, Lan R,Shibayama K, Watanabe M. A novel multilocus variable-number tandem repeat analysis for Bordetella parapertussis. J Med Microbiol. 68(11): 1671-1676 (2019).

2. Odanaka K, Watanabe M. New candidate antigens for serodiagnosis of pertussis. Annals of Biomedical Research. 1: 103 (2018).

3. Shinoda N, Nakamura H, Watanabe M. Suppressive effect of mycolactone-containing fraction from Mycobacterium ulcerans on antibody production against co-administered antigens. Biomedical Research and Clinical Practice. 2: 1-6 (2017).

4. Odanaka K, Iwatsuki M, Satho T, Watanabe M. Identification and characterization of a brilliant yellow pigment produced by Bordetella pertussis. Microbiol Immunol. 61: 490-6 (2017).

5. Hiramatsu Y, Yoshino S, Yamamura Y, Otsuka N, Shibayama K, Watanabe M, et al. The proline residue at position 319 of BvgS is essential for BvgAS activation in Bordetella pertussis. Pathog Dis. doi: 10.1093/femspd/ftx011 (2017).

6. Shinoda N, Nakamura H, Watanabe M. Detection of Mycobacterium ulcerans by real-time PCR with improved primers. Trop Med Health. 44: 28 (2016).

7. Shinoda N, Mitarai S, Suzuki E, Watanabe M. Disinfectant-susceptibility of multi-drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolated in Japan. Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control. 5: 1-4 (2016).

8. Saito M, Odanaka K, Otsuka N, Kamachi K, Watanabe M. Development of vaccines against pertussis caused by Bordetella holmesii using a mouse intranasal challenge model. Microbiol Immunol. 60: 599-608 (2016).

9. Hiramatsu Y, Saito M, Otsuka N, Suzuki E, Watanabe M, Shibayama K, et al. BipA is associated with preventing autoagglutination and promoting biofilm formation in Bordetella holmesii. PLoS One. 11: e0159999 (2016).

10. Watanabe M, Nakamura H, Nabekura R, Shinoda N, Suzuki E, Saito H. Protective effect of a dewaxed whole-cell vaccine against Mycobacterium ulcerans infection in mice. Vaccine. 33: 2232-9 (2015).

11. Oguchi K, Miyata A, Kazuyama Y, Noda A, Suzuki E, Watanabe M, et al. Detection of antibodies against fimbria type 3 (Fim3) is useful diagnostic assay for pertussis. J Infect Chemother. 21: 639-46 (2015).

12. Millen SH, Watanabe M, Komatsu E, Yamaguchi F, Nagasawa Y, Suzuki E, et al. Single amino acid polymorphisms of pertussis toxin subunit S2 (PtxB) affect protein function. PLoS One. 10:e0137379 (2015).

13. Fujino M, Suzuki E, Watanabe M, Nakayama T. Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) aids the clinical diagnosis of pertussis. Japanese Journal of Infectious Diseases. 68:532-3 (2015).