Yoshimi Enose Akahata, Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Yoshimi Akahata
Staff Scientist
Viral Immunology Section

BG 10 RM 5C103

Dr. Yoshimi Akahata received her Ph.D. degree from Kyoto University in Japan in 1999, where she studied human and simian immunodeficiency viruses (HIV and SIV) pathogenesis and immunology using animal model. She was accepted to the Japanese Foundation for AIDS Prevention and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science for research fellow and had postdoctoral training at Institute for Virus Research, Kyoto University and continued research works of vaccine development for HIV mucosal infection. Following the fellowship, she had postdoctoral training at University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE focused on proteomic analysis of mononuclear phagocytes in the central nervous system and moved to Viral Immunology Section, NINDS, as a research fellow focused on human T lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) pathogenesis and immunology in patients with HTLV-1 associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). She was appointed as a staff scientist for Viral Immunology Section in 2014. Her current research focuses on understanding immunological responses in the central nervous system of patients with chronic viral infection, neuroinflammation and autoimmune diseases.

Human T lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is associated with a chronic progressive neurological disorder known as HTLV-1 associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP), which is clinically similar to the chronic progressive form of multiple sclerosis (MS). Dr. Akahata is interested in viral reactivation and the immunological responses including T cell and B cells in patients with inflammatory neurologic diseases associated with chronic viral infection (such as HTLV-1, herpes virus, JC virus). She investigates the areas of interest using virological and immunological techniques that are used to characterize virus infection, immunophenotyping and functions of immune cells in cerebrospinal fluid and peripheral blood of patients with inflammatory neurologic disease as well as in healthy individuals. Dr. Akahata’s long-term research goals are to: (1) Understand immune responses in the central nervous system underlying pathogenesis of neurologic diseases associated with chronic viral infection, neuroinflammation and autoimmune diseases; (2) Define mechanism of dysregulation and dysfunction in immune cells and the pathogenic roles in the central nervous system; (3) Develop immunotherapeutic and modulatory strategies for treatment of inflammatory neurologic diseases.

  1. Enose-Akahata Y and Jacobson S. Immunovirological markers in HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). Retrovirology. 2019 Nov 29; 16(1):35.
  2. Enose-Akahata Y, Oh U, Ohayon J, Billioux BJ, Massoud R, Bryant BR, Vellucci A, NgouthN, Cortese I, Waldmann TA, Jacobson S. Clinical trial of a humanized anti-IL-2/IL-15 receptor β chain in HAM/TSP. Ann ClinTransl Neurol. 2019 Aug 6; (8): 1383-1394.
  3. Cortese I, Muranski P, Enose-Akahata Y, Ha SK, SmithBR, Monaco MC, Ryschewitsch C, Major EO, Ohayon J, Schindler M, Beck E, Bowen L, JacobsonS, Reich DS, Nath A. Pembrolizumab Treatment for Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy. N Engl J Med. 2019 Apr 25; 380 (17): 1597-1605.
  4. Anderson MR, Pleet ML, Enose-Akahata Y, Erickson J, Monaco MC, Akpamagbo Y, Velluci A, Tanaka Y, Azodi S, Lepene B, Jones J, Kashanchi F, Jacobson S. Viral antigens detectable in CSF exosomes from patients with retrovirus associated neurologic disease: functional role of exosomes. Clin Transl Med. 2018 Aug 27; 7(1):24.
  5. Enose-Akahata Y, Azodi S, SmithBR, Billioux BJ, Vellucci A, NgouthN, Tanaka Y, Ohayon J, Cortese I, Nath A and Jacobson S. Immunophenotypic Characterization of CSF B cells in Virus-Associated Neuroinflammatory Diseases. PLoS Pathog. 2018 Apr 30; 14(4).
  6. Enose-Akahata Y, Vellucci A, Jacobson S. Role of HTLV-1 Tax and HBZ in the pathogenesis of HAM/TSP. Front Microbiol. 2017 Dec 21; 8:2563.
  7. Azodi S, Nair G, Enose-Akahata Y, Charlip E, Vellucci A, Cortese I, Dwyer J, Billioux BJ, Chevaz T, Ohayon J, Reich D, Jacobson S. Imaging Spinal Cord Atrophy in Progressive Myelopathies: HTLV-I Associated Neurologic Disease (HAM/TSP) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Ann Neurol. 2017 Nov; 82(5):719-728.
  8. Matsuura E, Enose-Akahata Y, Yao K, Oh U, Tanaka Y, Takashima H, Jacobson S. Dynamic acquisition of HTLV-1 tax protein by mononuclear phagocytes: Role in neurologic disease. J Neuroimmunol. 2017 Mar 15;304:43-50.
  9. Enose-Akahata Y, Caruso B, Haner B, Charlip E, Nair G, Massoud R, Billioux BJ, Ohayon J, Switzer WM, Jacobson S. Development of neurologic diseases in a patient with primate T lymphotropic virus type 1 (PTLV-1). Retrovirology. 2016 Aug 12;13(1):56.
  10. Massoud R, Enose-Akahata Y, Tagaya Y, Azimi N, Basheer A, Jacobson S. Common -chain blocking peptide reduces in vitro immune activation markers in HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Sep 1;112(35):11030-5.
  11. Pise-Masison CA, de Castro-Amarante MF, Enose-Akahata Y, Buchmann RC, Fenizia C, Washington Parks R, Edwards D, Fiocchi M, Alcantara LC Jr, Bialuk I, Graham J, Walser JC, McKinnon K, Galvão-Castro B, Gessain A, Venzon D, Jacobson S, Franchini G. Co-dependence of HTLV-1 p12 and p8 functions in virus persistence. PLoS Pathog. 2014 Nov 6;10(11):e1004454.
  12. Anderson MR, Enose-Akahata Y, Massoud R, Ngouth N, Tanaka Y, Oh U, Jacobson S. Epigenetic modification of the FoxP3 TSDR in HAM/TSP decreases the functional suppression of Tregs. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2014 Sep;9(4):522-32.
  13. Enose-Akahata Y, Abrams A, Massoud R, Bialuk I, Johnson KR, Green PL, Maloney EM, Jacobson S. Humoral immune response to HTLV-1 basic leucine zipper factor (HBZ) in HTLV-1-infected individuals. Retrovirology. 2013 Feb 13;10:19.
  14. Enose-Akahata Y, Matsuura E, Tanaka Y, Oh U, Jacobson S. Minocycline modulates antigen-specific CTL activity through inactivation of mononuclear phagocytes in patients with HTLV-I associated neurologic disease. Retrovirology. 2012 Feb 15;9(1):16.
  15. Enose-Akahata Y, Abrams A, Johnson KR, Maloney EM, Jacobson S. Quantitative differences in HTLV-I antibody responses: Classification and relative risk assessment for asymptomatic carriers, ATL and HAM/TSP patients from Jamaica. Blood. 2012 Mar 22;119(12):2829-36.
  16. Abrams A, Akahata Y, Jacobson S. The Prevalence and Significance of HTLV-I/II Seroindeterminate Western Blot Patterns. Viruses. 2011 Aug;3(8):1320-31.
  17. Yao K, Graham J, Akahata Y, Oh U, Jacobson S. Mechanism of Neuroinflammation: Enhanced Cytotoxicity and IL-17 Production via CD46 Binding. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2010 Sep;5(3):469-78.
  18. Enose-Akahata Y, Matsuura E, Oh U, Jacobson S. High expression of CD244 and SAP regulated CD8+ T cell responses of patients with HTLV-I associated neurologic disease. PloS Pathogen. 2009 Dec;5(12):e1000682.
  19. Enose-Akahata Y, Oh U, Grant C, Jacobson S. Retroviral-induced CTL degranulation mediated by IL-15 expression and infection of mononuclear phagocytes in patients with HTLV-I associated neurologic disease. Blood. 2008 Sep; 112(6): 2400-10.