We have developed methods and systems of analyzing epigenetic information in cells to expand our understanding of how living systems are determined. Because cells are minimum units reflecting epigenetic information, which is considered to map the history of a parallel-processing recurrent network of biochemical reactions, their behaviors cannot be explained by considering only conventional deonucleotide (DNA) information-processing events. The role of epigenetic information on cells, which complements their genetic information, was inferred by comparing predictions from genetic information with cell behaviour observed under conditions chosen to reveal adaptation processes and community effects. A system of analyzing epigenetic information, on-chip cellomics technology, has been developed starting from the twin complementary viewpoints of cell regulation as an "algebraic" system (emphasis on temporal aspects) and as a "geometric" system (emphasis on spatial aspects) exploiting microfabrication technology and a reconstructive approach of cellular systems not only for single cell-based subjects such as Escherichia coli and macrophages but also for cellular networks like the community effect of cardiomyocytes and plasticity in neuronal networks. One of the most important contributions of this study was to be able to reconstruct the concept of a cell regulatory network from the "local" (molecules expressed at certain times and places) to the "global" (the cell as a viable, functioning system). Knowledge of epigenetic information, which we can control and change during cell lives, complements the genetic variety, and these two types of information are indispensable for living organisms. This new knowlege has the potential to be the basis of cell-based biological and medical fields such as those involving cell-based drug screening and the regeneration of organs from stem cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas