Haruka Higashi

Haruka Higashi

Researcher (Murakawa-G)

Program-Specific Researcher
Research Field
Genomics, Molecular biology, Gene expression

Research Overview

Aiming to discover new human genes

The 2003 Human Genome Project revealed the draft sequence of the human genome. However, many new human genes have been found even now and the information of the human genome is still being repeatedly added and modified.

Meanwhile, it varies greatly which genes are expressed and how much they are expressed between human cell types or individuals, as well as between humans, mice, and primates (Fig. 1). In fact, the analysis of the different gene expression in leucocyte and sperm cells of human leads the finding of many non-canonical ORFs.

Figure 1

Figure 1. Different gene expressions generate differences between various types of human cells, or individuals

It is expected that the analysis of gene expression using various cell types will be a powerful tool for complementing the human genome. However, the attempts to reveal the overall picture of diverse gene expression in various cell types are still advanced.

Among the analysis of gene expression, I am using ribosome profiling to comprehensively investigate RNA regions being translated by ribosomes (Fig. 2). I am analyzing various cell types by ribosome profiling in order to discover new ORFs on the human genome.

Figure 2

Figure 2. Ribosome profiling analysis. The distribution of ribosomes is investigated by immobilizing the ribosomes on mRNA during translation and degrading non-binding RNA regions by ribosomes using RNase.


2021, Doctoral degree in Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University
2016, Master’s degree in Graduate School of Science and Technology, Kumamoto University
2012, Bachelor’s degree in Faculty of Science, Kumamoto University


Higashi H., Kato Y., Fujita T., Iwasaki S., Nakamura M., Nishimura Y., Takenaka M. and Shikanai T. (2021) The pentatricopeptide repeat protein PGR3 is required for the translation of petL and ndhG by binding their 5'UTRs. Plant and Cell Physiology, doi: 10.1093/pcp/pcaa180, in press. (Peer Reviewed)

Higashi H., Wang D., Matsuoka T., Namihira T., Akiyama H. and Saitoh H. (2016) GFP transduction into HeLa cells using atmospheric-pressure helium plasma jet. IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, 44, 1137 – 1143. (Peer Reviewed)

Research Group

Murakawa Group
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