Kobayashi Lab/Research Center for Infectious Disease Control  Department of Virology

1) Rotaviruses (RVs)

RVs are highly important pathogens that cause severe diarrhea in infants and young children worldwide. Understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the replication and pathogenesis of RVs has been hampered by the lack of a reverse genetics system that allows the synthesis of recombinant viruses from artificial genes. Recently, we developed a long-awaited plasmid-based reverse genetics system for RVs. This technique opens up new horizons for studying the replication and pathogenesis of RVs. We are investigating RV biology and developing vaccines and therapeutics using a combination of genetic, biochemical, and biophysical approaches.

2) Oncolytic viral therapy using reoviruses

Mammalian orthoreoviruses (reoviruses) are members of the family Reoviridae and have a genome containing 10 segments of double-stranded (ds) RNA. Reoviruses are highly tractable experimental models for studying the replication and pathogenesis of dsRNA viruses. In the last decade, reoviruses have been evaluated as oncolytic agents against a variety of tumors, including head and neck, colon, breast, and pancreatic cancers, in animal models and humans. This is based on the observation that reoviruses induce cell death and apoptosis in tumor cells with an activated Ras signaling pathway. Wild-type reovirus-based oncolytic therapies are safe, but their efficacy is currently limited. We are developing safer and more effective reovirus-based cancer therapeutics by genetic modification.

3) Highly pathogenic bat-borne reovirus

Nelson Bay reovirus (NBV) was isolated from a flying fox in 1968 but had not been associated with any disease. However, NBVs were recently isolated from human patients suffering from acute respiratory tract infections in Malaysia, Indonesia, China, and Japan. These isolates have given rise to increasing concerns about bat-transmitted reovirus infections in humans. We are investigating how NBV replicates and causes disease in vitro and in vivo.

  • Fig. Generation of RVs from Cloned cDNAs


  • Prof.: Takeshi Kobayashi
  • Assoc. Prof.: Yuta Kanai
  • Assist. Prof.: Masahiro Kotaki
  • Postdoc.: Shohei Minami
  • SA Assoc. Prof: Shintaro Sato



  • (1) Development of stable rotavirus reporter expression systems. Kanai Y., et al., (2019) J. Virol. 93:e01774-18
    (2) Lethal murine infection model for human respiratory disease-associated Pteropine orthoreovirus. Kanai Y., et al., Virology (2018) 514:57-65.
    (3) Entirely plasmid-based reverse genetics system for rotaviruses. Kanai Y., et al., (2017) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 114:2349-2354.
    (4) Reverse genetics for fusogenic bat-borne orthoreovirus associated with acute respiratory tract Infections in humans: role of outer capsid protein sigmaC in viral replication and pathogenesis. Kawagishi T., et al., PLoS Pathog. (2016) 12:e1005455.