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Dr. Yusuke Aihara

Designated Lecturer

Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecule, Nagoya University, Japan


After graduating from the Department of Botany, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University in 2012, Dr. Aihara received his Ph.D. degree from the Department of Botany, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University. He then worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the National Institute of Basic Biology (2012-2018) and the Division of Biological Science, Nagoya University (2018- 2022) before he has been in his current position since October 2022.

Conferring drought tolerance on plants by isothiocyanate-based inhibitors on stomatal opening.

Stomatal pores in the plant epidermis open and close to regulate gas exchange between leaves and the atmosphere. Upon light stimulation, the plasma membrane (PM) H+-ATPase is phosphorylated and activated via an intracellular signal transduction pathway in stomatal guard cells, providing a primary driving force for the opening movement. To uncover and manipulate this stomatal opening pathway, we have conducted a series of chemical screening and identified several potent inhibitors/activators on stomatal opening.1,2

In this talk, I will introduce one of the most potent stomatal-opening inhibitors, benzyl isothiocyanate (BITC, Brassicales-specific metabolite) that suppresses PM H+-ATPase phosphorylation.3 Through structure-activity relationship study, we have successfully developed BITC derivatives with at most 66-times higher inhibitory activity on stomatal opening, as well as a longer duration of the effect and negligible toxicity. Treatment of the BITC-based inhibitors suppressed plant leaf wilting, highlighting their potential as agrochemicals that confer drought tolerance on plants.


Selected Publication

  • Wang, T.; Ye, W.; Wang, Y.; Zhang, M.; Aihara, Y.; Kinoshita, T. Protease Inhibitor-Dependent Inhibition of Light-Induced Stomatal Opening. Front. Plant Sci. 2021, 12, 1926. [Link]

  • Toda, Y.; Perry, G. J. P.; Inoue, S.; Ito, E.; Kawakami, T.; Narouz, M. R.; Takahashi, K.; Aihara, Y.; Maeda, B.; Kinoshita, T.; Itami, K.; Murakami, K. Identification of Stomatal-Regulating Molecules from de Novo Arylamine Collection through Aromatic C–H Amination. Sci. Rep. 2022, 12 (1), 949. [Link]

  • Aihara, Y.; Maeda, B.; Goto, K.; Takahashi, K.; Nomoto, M.; Toh, S.; Ye, W.; Toda, Y.; Uchida, M.; Asai, E.; Tada, Y.; Itami, K.; Sato, A.; Murakami, K.; Kinoshita, T. Identification and Improvement of Isothiocyanate-Based Inhibitors on Stomatal Opening to Act as Drought Tolerance-Conferring Agrochemicals. Nat Commun 2023, 14 (1), 2665. [Link]

Full list of Publication

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