Outline of Research and Education
Proteins are folded into specific three dimensional (3D) structures, which are essential for imparting functions such as molecular recognition and catalysis. Without precise knowledge of their 3D-structures, we are unable to understand how proteins execute their respective molecular functions and, in turn, unable to rationally design inhibitors or drugs. Thus, the experimental determination of protein 3D-structures represents the hallmark of structural biology. Structural biology in our laboratory is performed using X-ray crystallography to determine the 3D-structures of proteins and molecular complexes at atomic resolution, and biochemical/biophysical analyses are performed to delineate the mechanisms by which proteins function at the atomic, molecular, and cellular levels.
Our overall goal is to contribute to the understanding of the nature of life. Our long-term objective is to understand the molecular functions of proteins and other biological macromolecules and their complexes in terms of molecular structures. Our efforts are directed towards defining the manner by which protein interactions and 3D-structures determine specificity and how structural changes enable functional switches in living cells.
We expect our lab to be an international one and we welcome foreign students to study protein structures and functions with us.
Major Research Topics
Structural molecular medicine
Drug-target proteins and other proteins important in medical research such as cancer, teratogenesis and infectious diseases.
Structural cell biology
G proteins, and their regulators and effectors, which play central roles in intracellular signal transduction that regulate cell motility with rearrangement of the cytoskeleton and cell adhesion.
Structural molecular biology
Enzyme engineering in biodegradable plastic synthesis.
Structural plant biology
Proteins that play pivotal roles in plant hormone signaling, such as receptors and master regulators.
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