College of Natural & Agricultural Sciences

Naoki Yamanaka

Naoki Yamanaka

Assistant Professor of Entomolgy

Mar 2007, Ph.D. (Biological Science), University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

Mar 2002, B.S. (Agriculture), University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

Research Areas

Neuroendocrine control of insect developmental transitions

Contact Information
Genomics Bldg. 2202B
(951) 827-5253

Our lab is focused on identifying and characterizing neuroendocrine signaling pathways that regulate physiological and behavioral changes during insect development. Similar to humans, where physical and mental development during juvenile stage (puberty) is controlled by the neuroendocrine system, insects also have a sophisticated hormone signaling network that regulates their developmental transitions. Mainly by using fruit fly molecular genetic tools, we would like to understand what kind of hormones and receptors are involved in this system, how they work at the molecular level, and how such knowledge can be applied to develop new approaches to control animal development.

Awards Received

2009 Inoue Research Award for Young Scientists
2012 NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00)
2017 Pew Biomedical Scholar


Ohhara Y, Kobayashi S, Yamanaka N. Nutrient-Dependent Endocycling in Steroidogenic Tissue Dictates Timing of Metamorphosis in Drosophila melanogaster. PLoS Genet. 2017; 13(1):e1006583.

Ou Q, Zeng J, Yamanaka N, Brakken-Thal C, O'Connor MB, King-Jones K. The Insect Prothoracic Gland as a Model for Steroid Hormone Biosynthesis and Regulation. Cell Rep. 2016; 16(1):247-62.

Danielsen ET, Moeller ME, Yamanaka N, Ou Q, Laursen JM, Soenderholm C, Zhuo R, Phelps B, Tang K, Zeng J, Kondo S, Nielsen CH, Harvald EB, Faergeman NJ, Haley MJ, O'Connor KA, King-Jones K, O'Connor MB, Rewitz KF. A Drosophila Genome-Wide Screen Identifies Regulators of Steroid Hormone Production and Developmental Timing. Dev Cell. 2016; 37(6):558-70.

Yamanaka N, Marqués G, O'Connor MB. Vesicle-Mediated Steroid Hormone Secretion in Drosophila melanogaster. Cell. 2015; 163(4):907-19.

Okamoto N, Yamanaka N. Nutrition-dependent control of insect development by insulin-like peptides. Curr Opin Insect Sci. 2015; 11:21-30. 

Yamanaka N*, Romero NM*, Martin FA*, Rewitz KF, Sun M, O'Connor MB, Léopold P. Neuroendocrine control of Drosophila larval light preference. Science. 2013; 341(6150):1113-6. (*=equal contributions)

Rewitz KF, Yamanaka N, O'Connor MB. Developmental checkpoints and feedback circuits time insect maturation. Curr Top Dev Biol. 2013; 103:1-33.

Yamanaka N, Rewitz KF, O'Connor MB. Ecdysone control of developmental transitions: lessons from Drosophila research. Annu Rev Entomol. 2013; 58:497-516.

Okamoto N, Yamanaka N, Endo Y, Kataoka H, Mizoguchi A. Spatiotemporal patterns of IGF-like peptide expression in the silkmoth Bombyx mori predict its pleiotropic actions. Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2011; 173(1):171-82.

Yamanaka N, O'Connor MB. Nitric oxide directly regulates gene expression during Drosophila development: need some gas to drive into metamorphosis?. Genes Dev. 2011; 25(14):1459-63.

Yamanaka N, O'Connor MB. Apiology: royal secrets in the queen's fat body. Curr Biol. 2011; 21(13):R510-2.

Yamanaka N*, Roller L*, Zitňan D, Satake H, Mizoguchi A, Kataoka H, Tanaka Y. Bombyx orcokinins are brain-gut peptides involved in the neuronal regulation of ecdysteroidogenesis. J Comp Neurol. 2011; 519(2):238-46. (*=equal contributions)

Rewitz KF, Yamanaka N, O'Connor MB. Steroid hormone inactivation is required during the juvenile-adult transition in Drosophila. Dev Cell. 2010; 19(6):895-902.

Kim YJ, Bartalska K, Audsley N, Yamanaka N, Yapici N, Lee JY, Kim YC, Markovic M, Isaac E, Tanaka Y, Dickson BJ. MIPs are ancestral ligands for the sex peptide receptor. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010; 107(14):6520-5.

Yamanaka N, Hua YJ, Roller L, Spalovská-Valachová I, Mizoguchi A, Kataoka H, Tanaka Y. Bombyx prothoracicostatic peptides activate the sex peptide receptor to regulate ecdysteroid biosynthesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010; 107(5):2060-5.

Rewitz KF, Yamanaka N, Gilbert LI, O'Connor MB. The insect neuropeptide PTTH activates receptor tyrosine kinase torso to initiate metamorphosis. Science. 2009; 326(5958):1403-5.

Okamoto N*, Yamanaka N*, Yagi Y, Nishida Y, Kataoka H, O'Connor MB, Mizoguchi A. A fat body-derived IGF-like peptide regulates postfeeding growth in Drosophila. Dev Cell. 2009; 17(6):885-91. (*=equal contributions)

Okamoto N, Yamanaka N, Satake H, Saegusa H, Kataoka H, Mizoguchi A. An ecdysteroid-inducible insulin-like growth factor-like peptide regulates adult development of the silkmoth Bombyx mori. FEBS J. 2009; 276(5):1221-32.

International Silkworm Genome Consortium. The genome of a lepidopteran model insect, the silkworm Bombyx mori. Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2008; 38(12):1036-45.

Roller L, Yamanaka N, Watanabe K, Daubnerová I, Zitňan D, Kataoka H, Tanaka Y. The unique evolution of neuropeptide genes in the silkworm Bombyx mori. Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2008; 38(12):1147-57.

Yamanaka N, Yamamoto S, Zitňan D, Watanabe K, Kawada T, Satake H, Kaneko Y, Hiruma K, Tanaka Y, Shinoda T, Kataoka H. Neuropeptide receptor transcriptome reveals unidentified neuroendocrine pathways. PLoS One. 2008; 3(8):e3048.

Yamanaka N, Honda N, Osato N, Niwa R, Mizoguchi A, Kataoka H. Differential regulation of ecdysteroidogenic P450 gene expression in the silkworm, Bombyx mori. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2007; 71(11):2808-14.

Yamanaka N, Zitňan D, Kim YJ, Adams ME, Hua YJ, Suzuki Y, Suzuki M, Suzuki A, Satake H, Mizoguchi A, Asaoka K, Tanaka Y, Kataoka H. Regulation of insect steroid hormone biosynthesis by innervating peptidergic neurons. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006; 103(23):8622-7.

Yamanaka N, Hua YJ, Mizoguchi A, Watanabe K, Niwa R, Tanaka Y, Kataoka H. Identification of a novel prothoracicostatic hormone and its receptor in the silkworm Bombyx mori. J Biol Chem. 2005; 280(15):14684-90.

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