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Faculty Profile

Keisuke Ito, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Keisuke Ito

Assistant Professor, Department of Cell Biology

Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine

Director of Scientific Resources of the Stem Cell Institute


Professional Interests

My team’s current research goals are to define the critical mechanisms regulating the equilibrium of stem cells. Current and future projects are aimed as follows: 1) to target cellular metabolism for therapy as well as 2) to study the role of microRNA-epigenetics crosstalk in the pathogenesis of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).

Metabolic requirements in cell fate decision of hematopoietic stem cells.

Various molecular metabolism mechanisms have recently come into focus as novel regulatory elements of stem cell maintenance. The broad objective of this line research is to illuminate through both genetic and pharmacological approaches the role of one such potential regulatory element, fatty acid metabolism, in the cell fate decisions of hematopoietic stem cells. This line of research has the potential for high impact in the clinic, as we believe a targeted approach to metabolic reprogramming will eventually enhance and extend the health and well-being of patients through the fine tuning of stem cell function.

Targeting leukemia-initiating cells for therapy for MDS and other hematological malignancies.

MDSs are a heterogeneous group of clonal bone marrow malignancies characterized by ineffective hematopoiesis, the presence of dysplastic cells in the bone marrow, and peripheral blood cytopenias. Our lab has devised a plan to identify key mechanisms of MDS pathogenesis for the development of targeted therapies to combat the disease more effectively. Targeting of leukemia-initiating cells (or leukemia stem cells) may be a viable strategy to eradicate residual disease and prevent leukemia relapse. Our expertise in stem cell biology and hematology would benefit, and even potentially cure, the victims of many different forms of hematologic pathology as well as MDS.


Selected Publications

Selected Original research and Theoretical treatises; 

  1. Santos MA, Faryabi RB, Ergen AV, Day AM, Malhowski A, Canela A, Onozawa M, Lee JE, Callen E, Gutierrez-Martinez P, Chen HT, Wong N, Finkel N, Deshpande A, Sharrow S, Rossi DJ, Ito K, Ge K, Aplan PD, Armstrong SA, Nussenzweig A. DNA-damage-induced differentiation of leukaemic cells as an anti-cancer barrier. Nature. 2014 Oct 2;514(7520):107-11. PubMed PMID: 25079327; NIHMSID: NIHMS677139; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4410707.
  2. Papa A, Wan L, Bonora M, Salmena L, Song MS, Hobbs RM, Lunardi A, Webster K, Ng C, Newton RH, Knoblauch N, Guarnerio J, Ito K, Turka LA, Beck AH, Pinton P, Bronson RT, Wei W, Pandolfi PP. Cancer-associated PTEN mutants act in a dominant-negative manner to suppress PTEN protein function. Cell. 2014 Apr 24;157(3):595-610. PubMed PMID: 24766807; NIHMSID: NIHMS580403; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4098792.
  3. Song SJ*, Ito K*, Ala U, Kats L, Webster K, Sun SM, Jongen-Lavrencic M, Manova-Todorova K, Teruya-Feldstein J, Avigan DE, Delwel R, Pandolfi PP. The oncogenic microRNA miR-22 targets the TET2 tumor suppressor to promote hematopoietic stem cell self-renewal and transformation. Cell Stem Cell. 2013 Jul 3;13(1):87-101. PubMed PMID: 23827711; NIHMSID: NIHMS500644; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3767186. *Contributed equally to this work.
  4. Kunisaki Y, Bruns I, Scheiermann C, Ahmed J, Pinho S, Zhang D, Mizoguchi T, Wei Q, Lucas D, Ito K, Mar JC, Bergman A, Frenette PS. Arteriolar niches maintain haematopoietic stem cell quiescence. Nature. 2013 Oct 31;502(7473):637-43. PubMed PMID: 24107994; NIHMSID: NIHMS519910; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3821873.
  5. Stroopinsky D, Rosenblatt J, Ito K, Mills H, Yin L, Rajabi H, Vasir B, Kufe T, Luptakova K, Arnason J, Nardella C, Levine JD, Joyce RM, Galinsky I, Reiter Y, Stone RM, Pandolfi PP, Kufe D, Avigan D. MUC1 is a potential target for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia stem cells. Cancer Res. 2013 Sep 1;73(17):5569-79. PubMed PMID: 23867470; NIHMSID: NIHMS502170; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3936405. *Contributed equally to this work.
  6. Ito K*, Carracedo A*, Weiss D, Arai F, Ala U, Avigan DE, Schafer ZT, Evans RM, Suda T, Lee CH, Pandolfi PP. A PML–PPAR-δ pathway for fatty acid oxidation regulates hematopoietic stem cell maintenance. Nat Med. 2012 Sep;18(9):1350-8. PubMed PMID: 22902876; NIHMSID: HHMIMS430469; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3566224.
  7. Carracedo A, Weiss D, Leliaert AK, Bhasin M, de Boer VC, Laurent G, Adams AC, Sundvall M, Song SJ, Ito K, Finley LS, Egia A, Libermann T, Gerhart-Hines Z, Puigserver P, Haigis MC, Maratos-Flier E, Richardson AL, Schafer ZT, Pandolfi PP. A metabolic prosurvival role for PML in breast cancer. J Clin Invest. 2012 Sep;122(9):3088-100. PubMed PMID: 22886304; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3433768.
  8. Garcia-Cao I, Song MS, Hobbs RM, Laurent G, Giorgi C, de Boer VC, Anastasiou D, Ito K, Sasaki AT, Rameh L, Carracedo A, Vander Heiden MG, Cantley LC, Pinton P, Haigis MC, Pandolfi PP. Systemic elevation of PTEN induces a tumor-suppressive metabolic state. Cell. 2012 Mar 30;149(1):49-62. PubMed PMID: 22401813; NIHMSID: NIHMS360831; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3319228.
  9. Giorgi C, Ito K, Lin HK, Santangelo C, Wieckowski MR, Lebiedzinska M, Bononi A, Bonora M, Duszynski J, Bernardi R, Rizzuto R, Tacchetti C, Pinton P, Pandolfi PP. PML regulates apoptosis at endoplasmic reticulum by modulating calcium release. Science. 2010 Nov 26;330(6008):1247-51. PubMed PMID: 21030605; NIHMSID: NIHMS261540; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3017677.
  10. Maeda T*, Ito K*, Merghoub T, Poliseno L, Hobbs RM, Wang G, Dong L, Maeda M, Dore LC, Zelent A, Luzzatto L, Teruya-Feldstein J, Weiss MJ, Pandolfi PP. LRF is an essential downstream target of GATA1 in erythroid development and regulates BIM-dependent apoptosis. Dev Cell. 2009 Oct;17(4):527-40. PubMed PMID: 19853566; NIHMSID: NIHMS149867; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3134301.  *Contributed equally to this work.
  11. Ito K, Bernardi R, Morotti A, Matsuoka S, Saglio G, Ikeda Y, Rosenblatt J, Avigan DE, Teruya-Feldstein J, Pandolfi PP. PML targeting eradicates quiescent leukaemia-initiating cells. Nature. 2008 Jun 19;453(7198):1072-8. PubMed PMID: 18469801; NIHMSID: NIHMS101453; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2712082.
  12. Miyamoto K, Araki KY, Naka K, Arai F, Takubo K, Yamazaki S, Matsuoka S, Miyamoto T, Ito K, Ohmura M, Chen C, Hosokawa K, Nakauchi H, Nakayama K, Nakayama KI, Harada M, Motoyama N, Suda T, Hirao A. Foxo3a is essential for maintenance of the hematopoietic stem cell pool. Cell Stem Cell. 2007 Jun 7;1(1):101-12. PubMed PMID: 18371339.  
  13. Ito K*, Hirao A*, Arai F, Takubo K, Matsuoka S, Miyamoto K, Ohmura M, Naka K, Hosokawa K, Ikeda Y, Suda T. Reactive oxygen species act through p38 MAPK to limit the lifespan of hematopoietic stem cells. Nat Med. 2006 Apr;12(4):446-51. PubMed PMID: 16565722. *Contributed equally to this work.
  14. Ito K*, Hirao A*, Arai F, Matsuoka S, Takubo K, Hamaguchi I, Nomiyama K, Hosokawa K, Sakurada K, Nakagata N, Ikeda Y, Mak TW, Suda T. Regulation of oxidative stress by ATM is required for self-renewal of haematopoietic stem cells. Nature. 2004 Oct 21;431(7011):997-1002. PubMed PMID: 15496926. *Contributed equally to this work.
  15. Arai F, Hirao A, Ohmura M, Sato H, Matsuoka S, Takubo K, Ito K, Koh GY, Suda T. Tie2/angiopoietin-1 signaling regulates hematopoietic stem cell quiescence in the bone marrow niche. Cell. 2004 Jul 23;118(2):149-61. PubMed PMID: 15260986.

Selected Invited articles and Review articles ($; Corresponding author) 

  1. Ito K, $Ito K. Resistance in the Ribosome: RUNX1, pre-LSCs, and HSPCs. Cell Stem Cell. 2015 Aug 6;17(2):129-31. PubMed PMID: 26253196; NIHMSID: NIHMS714534; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4541802.
  2. $Ito K, $Suda T. Metabolic requirements for the maintenance of self-renewing stem cells. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2014 Apr;15(4):243-56. PubMed PMID: 24651542; NIHMSID: NIHMS591572; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4095859.
  3. Bonora M, Pinton P, $Ito K. Mitochondrial control of hematopoietic stem cell balance and hematopoiesis. Front. Biol. 2015 Apr;10(2):117-124.
  4. Weiss CN, $Ito K. DNA Damage: A Sensible Mediator of the Differentiation Decision in Hematopoietic Stem Cells and in Leukemia. Int J Mol Sci. 2015 Mar 17;16(3):6183-6201. Review. PubMed PMID: 25789504.
  5. Nakahara F, Weiss CN, $Ito K. The role of PML in hematopoietic and leukemic stem cell maintenance. Int J Hematol. 2014 Jul;100(1):18-26. doi: 10.1007/s12185-014-1518-x. Epub 2014 Feb 1. PubMed PMID: 24488785; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4096053.
  6. Weiss CN, $Ito K. DNA damage response, redox status and hematopoiesis. Blood Cells Mol Dis. 2014 Jan;52(1):12-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bcmd.2013.08.002. Epub 2013 Sep 13. Review. PubMed PMID: 24041596; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4006928.
  7. Ito K, $Ito K. Newly Identified Roles of PML in Stem Cell Biology. Front Oncol. 2013 Mar 14;3:50. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2013.00050. eCollection 2013. PubMed PMID: 23504288; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3596805.
  8. Weiss CN, $Ito K. DNA damage: a sensible mediator of the differentiation decision in hematopoietic stem cells and in leukemia. Int J Mol Sci. 2015 Mar 17;16(3):6183-201. PubMed PMID: 25789504; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4394526.
  9. Nakahara F, Weiss CN, Ito K. The role of PML in hematopoietic and leukemic stem cell maintenance. Int J Hematol. 2014 Jul;100(1):18-26. PubMed PMID: 24488785; NIHMSID: NIHMS591570; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4096053.
  10. Weiss CN, $Ito K. DNA damage response, redox status and hematopoiesis. Blood Cells Mol Dis. 2014 Jan;52(1):12-8. PubMed PMID: 24041596; NIHMSID: NIHMS521541; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4006928.
  11. Ito K, $Ito K. Newly Identified Roles of PML in Stem Cell Biology. Front Oncol. 2013;3:50. PubMed PMID: 23504288; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3596805. ($Corresponding)
  12. Carracedo A, Ito K, Pandolfi PP. The nuclear bodies inside out: PML conquers the cytoplasm. Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2011 Jun;23(3):360-6. PubMed PMID: 21501958; NIHMSID: NIHMS291076; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3109131.
  13. Ito K, Bernardi R, Pandolfi PP. A novel signaling network as a critical rheostat for the biology and maintenance of the normal stem cell and the cancer-initiating cell. Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2009 Feb;19(1):51-9. PubMed PMID: 19216069; NIHMSID: NIHMS102225; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2677410.

Selected Non-Experimental articles

  1. $Ito K. Self-Renewal and Differentiation. The SAGE Encyclopedia of Stem Cell Research. 2nd Edition. 2015 July:1007-1010. doi:

Research Support


  • Lipid metabolism in the maintenance of HSCs
  • Epigenetic regulation by microRNA of MDS pathogenesis



More Information About Dr. Keisuke Ito

Dr. Ito's Biosketch (at Cell Biology)

Einstein Stem Cell Institute

Material in this section is provided by individual faculty members who are solely responsible for its accuracy and content.


Albert Einstein College of Medicine
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