Yoshihiko Yamada, Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Laboratory of Cell and Developmental Biology


Building 30, Room 407
30 Convent Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892



Research Topics

The overall goal of the Molecular Biology Section is to discover novel molecular mechanisms that underlie the development of hard tissues and ectodermal organs, by identifying novel functions of previously unstudied genes and defining the roles of the extracellular matrix (ECM). They have focused on the novel roles of protein factors and ECM components in proliferation, differentiation, and cell adhesion during development of teeth, cartilage, and other tissues. These studies are aimed towards developing reagents useful for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Most recently, we identified several novel proteins from a tooth germ cDNA library, including the transcription factor epiprofin, the odontoblast adhesion protein fibulin7 (TM14), and the gap junction protein pannexin 3. These proteins are expressed in teeth as well as in tissues such as cartilage, bone, and skin. We expect that identification of common and distinct molecular mechanisms for the function of these proteins in specific tissue types will uncover key concepts that underlie both normal development and disease.


Dr. Yamada received his Ph.D. from Osaka University Faculty of Science. After receiving his Ph.D., he began his postdoctoral training at the University of Pittsburgh, where he investigated gene regulation of bacteriophages and plasmids. In 1978, he moved to the National Cancer Institute at NIH to study gene evolution and regulation of collagen genes. In 1983, he joined the NIDCR, where he has been studying the functions of basement membrane components, cartilage matrices, and other extracellular matrices during development and diseases. 

Selected Publications

  1. Arikawa-Hirasawa E, Watanabe H, Takami H, Hassell JR, Yamada Y. Perlecan is essential for cartilage and cephalic development. Nat Genet. 1999;23(3):354-8.

  2. Nakamura T, Jimenez-Rojo L, Koyama E, Pacifici M, de Vega S, Iwamoto M, Fukumoto S, Unda F, Yamada Y. Epiprofin Regulates Enamel Formation and Tooth Morphogenesis by Controlling Epithelial-Mesenchymal Interactions During Tooth Development. J Bone Miner Res. 2017;32(3):601-610.

  3. Arikawa-Hirasawa E, Rossi SG, Rotundo RL, Yamada Y. Absence of acetylcholinesterase at the neuromuscular junctions of perlecan-null mice. Nat Neurosci. 2002;5(2):119-23.

  4. Nakamura T, Unda F, de-Vega S, Vilaxa A, Fukumoto S, Yamada KM, Yamada Y. The Krüppel-like factor epiprofin is expressed by epithelium of developing teeth, hair follicles, and limb buds and promotes cell proliferation. J Biol Chem. 2004;279(1):626-34.

  5. Ishikawa M, Williams GL, Ikeuchi T, Sakai K, Fukumoto S, Yamada Y. Pannexin 3 and connexin 43 modulate skeletal development through their distinct functions and expression patterns. J Cell Sci. 2016;129(5):1018-30.

This page was last updated on August 13th, 2017