Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Shigeaki Kato up to 25 retractions

with 4 comments

Shigeaki Kato

Shigeaki Kato

Shigeaki Kato, who resigned from the University of Tokyo in 2012 after being found to have inappropriately manipulated dozens of images, has two more retractions, both in Molecular Cell.

Here’s the notice for 2002’s “Nuclear Receptor Function Requires a TFTC-Type Histone Acetyl Transferase Complex:”

Recently, we were made aware that images in Figures 1B, 2F, and 3E were inappropriately manipulated such that they did not reflect the actual experimental data they claimed to represent. The experiments and figure preparation were done in the nuclear signaling laboratory in the IMCB. Because of the data handling issues, we wish to retract this paper and to sincerely apologize to the scientific community for any potential harm we may have caused.

The IMCB is the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences at the University of Tokyo. The paper has been cited 135 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. We note than 48 of those citations came in 2013, after Kato had resigned in 2012 amid an investigation that would eventually call for the retraction of 43 papers.

Here’s the notice for 2009’s “Maturation of MicroRNA Is Hormonally Regulated by a Nuclear Receptor:”

Recently, it was brought to our attention that the data from the GST pull-down assays in Figures 3F and 3G were inappropriately assembled from images of different gels. The experiments and figure preparation were done in the nuclear signaling laboratory in the IMCB. As the data handling has undermined our confidence in the integrity of the entire study, we wish to retract this paper and regret any inconvenience we may have caused to the scientific community.

The paper, which has also been cited 135 times, had already been subjected to an erratum:

In the above article, Figures S12, S13, and S14 were inadvertently omitted from the original online Supplemental Information. The Supplemental Information file has been updated online and now includes these figures. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused.

The retractions bring Kato’s count to 25.

Hat tip: Rolf Degen

  • JATdS May 12, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Where is the Japanese media? The Obokata case filled headlines for weeks and continues to draw attention, but not a single story about Kato. This case is so many-fold worse (if we use the number of retractions as the barometer), yet the Japanese media (mainstream and marginal) is so silent. That either implies that they simply don’t care, bad and biased journalism, or a political target that must have involved RIKEN in the Obokata case. Maybe RW could contact several of the main Japanese papers, even those that publish in Japanese, to get the story rolling.

  • A May 24, 2014 at 3:49 am

    Concern About papers of Azusa Okagawa(National Institute for Environmental Studies)

  • Robert Geller May 31, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    There were several news stories in the Japanese media about the problems with Prof. Kato’s research (see the following link): . However, these stories have now been taken down or disappeared into pay-per-view archives. Since he’s resigned from his position the Japanese media (which did report the story) doesn’t regard each further retraction as news. You can quibble with this, but that’s probably how the public views it too.

    On the other hand the story on Dr. Obokata’s work is ongoing, and her work got far more (favorable) publicity than Prof. Kato’s when it first came out, so the negative backlash understandably gets more publicity too. Recently though the media have dialed back coverage, except when there are further specific developments.

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