Research originating from the laboratory of Obuse and Nagao makes the cover of journal ‘Nature Structural & Molecular Biology’

Research Press Release | May 20, 2013

An artwork depicting a recently published paper by Professor Chikashi Obuse, Assistant Professor Koji Nagao and their colleagues from our Graduate School of Life Science has been selected as the front cover for the latest edition of the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.

During early development of female mammals, one of the two X chromosomes forms a condensed heterochromatin, called Barr body, to ensure the inactivation for dosage compensation between sexes. The authors provide new insights into the long-standing uncovered mechanisms in the formation of the Barr body in the journal.

The cover artwork shows two calico cats, whose tortoiseshell-like color is a typical phenotype of X inactivation, representing two X chromosomes. The sleeping curled up cat is mimicking compact inactive X, and the other out-stretched cat represents decondensed active X. The artwork, which is reminiscent of an Ukiyo-e painting (Japanese art originating in the Edo period) also conceptualizes the fact that this ground-breaking research is of Japanese origin.

For more information about the cover click here.


Nozawa R.S., Nagao K., Igami K.T., Shibata S., Shirai N., Nozaki N., Sado T., Kimura H., Obuse C. (2013) Human inactive X chromosome is compacted through a polycomb-independent SMCHD1-HBiX1 pathway. Nature Struct. Mol. Biol., 20, 566-573.

Journal Link

Professor Chikashi Obuse, Graduate School of Life Sciences