Biotechnology Research Institute for Drug Discovery
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※ Genomic Neo-Function Research Group was reorganized as Leading-edge Biotechnology Research Group as of May 2, 2016.
Genomic Neo-Function Research Group

Genomic Neo-Functional Research Group performs drug development based on a wide range of genome functions from human being to microorganisms. Especially, we focus on the tRNA maturation mechanism which is necessary for protein synthesis as well as natural compound production employing biosynthetic genes of microbial secondary metabolites. In addition to the basic research, we are also developing the drug screening system from the world’s largest natural library.

Group's Research Theme

Natural compound production by applying biosynthetic genes
Natural compound production by applying
biosynthetic genes

Development of the heterologous expression system for biosynthesis of natural compounds

Recent studies revealed that the conventional fermentation technology can draw only 1/3 of the total ability of natural compound productions, and the rest is disappeared by genome sequence information. Our research program targets on the development of the next-generation natural compound production technology which leads to the production of novel compounds by heterologous expression system applying on cryptic biosynthetic genes. Moreover, we are also developing the new technology to enhance the amount of natural compound production by genome manipulation not depending on personal skillful techniques.

Drug screening from natural product library
Drug screening from natural product library

Drug screening with the world’s largest natural library

Natural product libraries have been applied for drug development, and more than 60% of the clinical drugs are originated from natural compounds. Pharmaceutical companies provided their natural product libraries to establish the world’s largest natural library in our laboratory. We are developing a wide range of drug screening tools for clinical drugs, animal drugs, agricultural chemicals, etc., on various drug targets provided by not only industrial companies but also basic research academia.

Biosynthesis and function of sulfur-modification in tRNA

Biosynthesis and function of sulfur-modification in tRNA (Naoki SHIGI)

Post-transcriptional modification is one of the characteristic features of RNA. Among them, sulfur modifications of tRNA are important for tRNA functions, such as codon recognition and stabilization of the tertiary structure [Fig. 1].
In a thermophilic bacteria, activated sulfur which bonds to a sulfur-carrier protein TtuB [Fig. 2] is transferred to tRNA by a sulfur transferase. TtuB may have evolved to safely deliver reactive sulfur to tRNAs. TtuB possesses ubiquitin-like structure and also functions as a post-translational modifier of many proteins [Fig. 2]. We are studying the biosynthesis mechanism of sulfur-modification and its regulation mechanisms in order to develop new drugs.

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Research Achievements

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Staff Members

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Chief Senior Researcher
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Senior Researcher
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