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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Aoki notches fourth retraction for image problems

with 11 comments

jbc1013We have a fourth retraction in the Journal of Biochemistry for Naohito Aoki, a Japanese researcher and former postdoc in a German lab, whose images have been called into question but whose retraction notices were scant. In this case, however, the journal, while not exactly overbrimming with information about the article, at least gives us some sense of what’s going on.

Aoki worked in the lab of Axel Ullrich, of the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, and appeared on two retracted articles in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) with his mentor, along with a third with a co-author from Japan, Tsukasa Matsuda. Although those notices don’t say anything about the reason for the retractions — this was before the JBC started providing such information — Ulrich told us that Aoki had been manipulating images.

And that’s what appears to be the case with the newly retracted paper, originally published in 1999 and titled “Down-regulation of protein tyrosine phosphatase gene expression in lactating mouse mammary gland.”

According to the notice:

This article has been retracted by the journal, because it has been brought to our attention that there are problems in Figures 1A, 2A, 3, and 4A in this paper. We would like to apologize for any inconvenience this causes to readers of the journal.

The paper has been cited six times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, including four times by Aoki.

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11 Responses

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  1. Pubpeer comment on

    Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 1999 Oct;63(10):1749-55.
    High fat feeding of lactating mice causing a drastic reduction in fat and energy content in milk without affecting the apparent growth of their pups and the production of major milk fat globule membrane components MFG-E8 and butyrophilin.
    Aoki N, Yamaguchi Y, Ohira S, Matsuda T.
    Source

    Department of Applied Molecular Biosciences, Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, Nagoya University, Chikusa-ku, Japan.

    PMID: 10586503

    http://pubpeer.com/publications/7518A6B375BE57B4202B283EE573AB

    david hardman

    October 8, 2013 at 2:29 pm

  2. Mol Endocrinol. 2002 Jan;16(1):58-69.

    A nuclear protein tyrosine phosphatase TC-PTP is a potential negative regulator of the PRL-mediated signaling pathway: dephosphorylation and deactivation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 5a and 5b by TC-PTP in nucleus.
    Aoki N, Matsuda T.

    PMID: 11773439

    Figure 3.
    http://mend.endojournals.org/content/16/1/58/F3.large.jpg

    Figure 3A. STAT5a blots. Alpha-STAT5 blot.
    Please compare the bands in lanes 3 and 11. Please compare the band in lane 5 with horizontal mirror images of the bands in lanes 3 and 11.

    STAT5b blots. Alpha-STAT5 blot.
    Please compare the bands in lanes 3 and 6.

    Figure 3B.

    Please compare the STAT5b -vanadate alpha-HA panel
    with the STAT5a +vanadate alpha-HA panel.

    Please compare the STAT5b +vanadate alpha-HA panel
    with the STAT5a -vanadate alpha-HA panel.

    david hardman

    October 9, 2013 at 7:19 am

  3. J Biol Chem. 2001 Jul 20;276(29):27575-83. Epub 2001 May 9.
    Molecular cloning and characterization of a novel dual specificity phosphatase, LMW-DSP2, that lacks the cdc25 homology domain.
    Aoyama K, Nagata M, Oshima K, Matsuda T, Aoki N.
    Source

    Department of Applied Molecular Biosciences, Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, Nagoya University, Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan.

    Figure 6.

    http://www.jbc.org/content/276/29/27575/F6.large.jpg

    It is quite subtle.

    Figure 6A. p-ATF-2 panel. Please compare the bands lanes 4 to 6 with vertical mirror images of the bands in lanes 1 to 3.

    IP: HA-p38 panel. Please compare the bands lanes 4 to 6 with vertical mirror images of the bands in lanes 1 to 3.

    Figure 6B. p-c-Jun panel. Please compare the bands lanes 4 to 6 with vertical mirror images of the bands in lanes 1 to 3.

    IP: HA-p54 SAPK beta panel. Bands lanes 4 to 6 very similar to re-sized horizontal mirror images of bands lanes 1 to 3 IP: HA-p38 panel figure 6A.

    This publication has been retracted.
    J Biol Chem. 2010 Oct 15;285(42):32678.
    PMID: 20954297

    I couldn’t see in the original post about 2 papers with A Ullrich being retracted. It might be third retraction mentioned in this post. sometimes I miss things.

    david hardman

    October 9, 2013 at 7:26 am

  4. Endocrinology. 2007 Aug;148(8):3850-62. Epub 2007 May 3.
    Identification and characterization of microvesicles secreted by 3T3-L1 adipocytes: redox- and hormone-dependent induction of milk fat globule-epidermal growth factor 8-associated microvesicles.
    Aoki N, Jin-no S, Nakagawa Y, Asai N, Arakawa E, Tamura N, Tamura T, Matsuda T.
    Source
    Department of Applied Molecular Biosciences, Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, Nagoya University, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan.

    PMID: 17478559

    Figure 4.
    http://endo.endojournals.org/content/148/8/3850/F4.large.jpg

    HSP70 panel. Please compare the rightmost band with a horizontal mirror image of the leftmost band. It is not obvious which lanes the bands are in.

    Figure 5.
    http://endo.endojournals.org/content/148/8/3850/F5.large.jpg

    Histone 2B bands right lane have vertical, straight left edges.

    david hardman

    October 9, 2013 at 7:30 am

    • Retraction: Identification and characterization of microvesicles secreted by 3T3-L1 adipocytes: redox- and hormone-dependent induction of milk fat globule-epidermal growth factor 8-associated microvesicles.

      Aoki N, Jin-no S, Nakagawa Y, Asai N, Arakawa E, Tamura N, Tamura T, Matsuda T.

      Endocrinology. 2013 Nov;154(11):4437. No abstract available.

      PMID: 24298605

      david hardman

      December 4, 2013 at 3:23 am

  5. Pubpeer comment for

    Biochem J. 2006 Apr 1;395(1):21-30.
    Weaning-induced expression of a milk-fat globule protein, MFG-E8, in mouse mammary glands, as demonstrated by the analyses of its mRNA, protein and phosphatidylserine-binding activity.
    Nakatani H, Aoki N, Nakagawa Y, Jin-No S, Aoyama K, Oshima K, Ohira S, Sato C, Nadano D, Matsuda T.
    Source

    Department of Applied Molecular Biosciences, Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, Nagoya University, Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan.

    PMID: 16401186

    http://pubpeer.com/publications/96C115140CFD23A2117786D0272C7B

    david hardman

    October 9, 2013 at 10:04 am

    • Thanks for the link. We now have a clear picture.

      Emmelina

      October 11, 2013 at 5:42 am


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