Takako Makita, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of PediatricsHeadshot of Dr. Makita

Medical University of South Carolina
Darby Children’s Research Institute, Room 508
173 Ashley Avenue
Charleston, SC, 29425


Email: makita@musc.edu


Education & Training:

Tokyo Metropolitan University, 1994, B.S. in Chemistry
University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, 2004, Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Johns Hopkins University, 2005-2009, Postdoctoral Fellow


Research Interests:

My research addresses molecular mechanisms that control establishment of the peripheral nervous system (PNS). A precise PNS circuitry is essential not only for neonatal survival but also for postnatal development and function throughout life. Furthermore, how the nervous system becomes correctly wired remains one of the major unexplained mysteries of biology. My lab uses mouse genetics and physiological assessment to dissect the biological roles of several signaling pathways in peripheral neural development, coupled with molecular and biochemical approaches to understand the underlying mechanisms in each process. All of these have direct application to human disease.


Some of our current major projects include:

  • Sympathetic axon guidance to the heart (relevant to arrhythmia)
  • Molecular mechanisms that control migration and fate specification of the enteric nervous system (relevant to Hirschsprung disease, a common pediatric syndrome of inadequate bowel peristalsis)
  • Genome-wide association screen in a new mouse model of Waardenburg-Shah syndrome to identify genetic loci that contribute to congenital deafness
  • Sympathetic synapse formation and function in heart (relevant to arrhythmia) and kidney (relevant to kidney failure)


Highlight Publications:

  • Makita T, Sucov HM, Gariepy CE, Yanagisawa M, Ginty DD. (2008) Endothelins are vascular-derived axonal guidance cues for developing sympathetic neurons. Nature, 452(7188):759-63. PMID: 18401410
  • Makita T. (2013) Nerve control of blood vessel patterning. Dev Cell, 24(4):340-1. PMID: 23449469
  • Manousiouthakis E, Mendez M, Garner MC, Exertier P, Makita T. (2014) Venous endothelin guides sympathetic innervation of the developing mouse heart. Nat Commun, 29;5:3918. PMID: 24875861
  • Suo D, Park J, Young S, Makita T, Deppmann CD. (2015) Coronin-1 and calcium signaling governs sympathetic final target innervation. J Neurosci, 35(9):3893-902. PMID: 25740518
  • Patterson M, Barske L, Van Handel B, Rau CD, Gan P, Sharma A, Parikh S, Denholtz M, Huang Y, Yamaguchi Y, Shen H, Allayee H, Crump JG, Force TI, Lien CL, Makita T, Lusis AJ, Kumar SR, Sucov HM. (2017) Frequency of mononuclear diploid cardiomyocytes underlies natural variation in heart regeneration. Nat Genet, 49(9):1346-1353. PMID: 28783163
  • Poltavski DM, Colombier P, Hu J, Duron A, Black BL, Makita T. (2019) Venous endothelin modulates responsiveness of cardiac sympathetic axons to arterial semaphorin. Elife, PMID: 30735130


Complete NCBI list: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/takako.makita.1/bibliography/public/