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Tasuku Honjo Edit Profile

本庶 佑

Biochemist , Immunologist , university professor

Tasuku Honjo, Japanese biochemist, educator. Recipient award Asahi Shinbun, 1981, Kihara award Japanese Society Genetics, 1984, Behring-Kitasato prize Hoechst Chemical, 1992, Japan Academy prize, 1996, Person of Cultural Merit award Japanese Government; Fogarty scholar National Institutes of Health, 1992-1996. Member National Academy of Sciences, American Association Immunologists (honorary), Human Genome Organization, Japan Academy, Leopoldina.


Honjo, Tasuku was born on January 27, 1942 in Kyoto, Japan. Son of Shoichi and Ryu-ko (Yoneda) Honjo.


Doctor of Medicine, Kyoto University, 1966. Doctor of Philosophy, Kyoto University, 1971.


He is also known for his molecular identification of cytokines: IL-4 and IL-5. In 1966 from the Faculty of Medicine, Kyoto University, where in 1975 he received his doctorate in Medical Chemistry under the supervision of Yasutomi Nishizuka and Osamu Hayaishi. Since 1982 he has been Professor and Chairman of the Department of Medical Chemistry, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine.

Honjo has established the basic conceptual framework of class switch recombination. He presented a model explaining antibody gene rearrangement in class switch and, between 1980 and 1982, verified its validity by elucidating its DNA structure. He succeeded in cDNA clonings of IL-4 and IL-5 cytokines involved in class switching and IL-2 receptor alpha chain in 1986, and went on further to discover Activation-induced Cytidine Deaminase in 2000, demonstrating its importance in class switch recombination and somatic hypermutation.

In 2014, Tasuku Honjo shared the inaugural Tang Prize in Biopharmaceutical Science with James Allison.


  • Honjo received many awards and honours including, the Order of Culture (2013), the Robert Koch Prize (2012), and the Imperial Prize of the Japan Academy (1996).


  • Other Work

    • Editor: Immunogloblin Genes, 1993. (journal) Current Biology, 1993, Journal Experimental Medicine, 1992, Science, 1995.


[German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. National Academy of Sciences. Japan Academy]\r\nHe was elected as a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences, USA (2001), as a member of German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina (2003), and also as a member of the Japan Academy (2005).


  • Other Interests

    Avocations: golf, art.


Married Shigeko Kodani, February 4, 1969. Children: Hajime, Yasuko.

Shoichi Honjo

Ryu-ko (Yoneda) Honjo

Shigeko Kodani

Hajime Honjo

Yasuko Honjo