KAWAI Yusuke Associate Professor

ThemeStudy on species difference and molecular evolution of enzyme related to drug metabolism

My DreamDiscover the evolution of detoxication system
  • Laboratory of Toxicology


Research Center for Global Agromedicine/Department of Veterinary MedicineResearch Department/Department of Veterinary Medicine/Division of Veterinary Sciences/Section of Physiology and PharmacologyDiagnostic Center for Animal Health and Food Safety/Toxicology Laboratory
Field Molecular evolution, Environmental toxicology
Keyword Cytochrome P-450, Glucuronic acid conjugation enzyme, Evolution, Species difference


In the environment, there are large numbers of artificially synthesized chemical substances, such as plant poisons and naturally derived dioxins, as well as environmental pollutants and medicines. Sensitivity towards these chemicals varies from one animal species to another. For example, cats have partially lost xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes called glucuronidation enzymes, so they're more prone than other animals to the side effects of medicines. It's important to clarify such differences among animal species and the backgrounds under which such differences emerge, in order to understand how medications and environmental pollutants affect animals.
Analysis of the genome database has clarified that glucuronidation enzymes are scant in carnivorous birds but abundant in herbivorous birds, and carnivorous birds are highly susceptible to chemical substances. (Refer to the figure “Phylogenetic and species differences in amounts of glucuronidation enzymes in birds.”) We provide basic information to contribute to medication treatment by investigating genes related to the metabolism of foreign agents in endangered species, such as Japanese cranes.
We aim to contribute to animal medication treatment and wildlife conservation by clarifying differences in chemical susceptibility among animal species and examining the evolutionary and genetic backgrounds of such species.

Phylogenetic tree of birds and species difference of glucuronic acid conjugation enzyme

List of current research topics

  • Study on molecular evolution of birds' gene related to drug metaborism
  • Estimation of drug metaboric capacity in Japanese crane
  • Study on species difference in drug metaboric gene between Polypteridae spp. and others
  • Estimation of sensibility for ratiside in Ogasawara Islands endemic species
Affiliated academic society Japanese Society of Veterinary Science
Academic degree D.Vet.
License Veterinarian
Self introduction

I'm from Wakayama. We research differences between animal species and the molecular evolution of enzymes (mainly cytochrome P450) relating to foreign compound metabolism.

Room addressGeneral Research Building 4
Mail address ykawai atmark obihiro.ac.jp