Biotechnology Research Institute for Drug Discovery
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Leading-edge Biotechnology Research Group

Leading-edge biotechnology research group develops the wide-range of technologies such as the most advanced genome application, application of analytical instruments and informatics technology, which are applicable for the elucidation of life phenomena and production of industrial useful substances in microorganisms, plants and animals. On the above research, we contribute to the both academic and industrial fields.

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.

Metagenomics approach for specific gene clusters in complex microbial communities
 


Metagenomics approach for specific gene clusters in complex microbial communities (Hikaru SUENAGA)

A major research goal in microbial ecology is to understand the relationship between gene organization and function involved in environmental processes of potential interest. Given that more than an estimated 99% of microorganisms in most environments are not amenable to culturing, methods for culture independent studies of genes of interest have been developed. The wealth of metagenomic approaches allows environmental microbiologists to directly explore the enormous genetic diversity of microbial communities and access unknown genetic resources for industrial bio-production and bioremediation.

Development of network inference method by system structuring
 



Development of network inference method by system structuring (Sachiko ABURATANI)

In systems biology field, revealing the genetic control system during development is one of important tasks, and various factors are considered to be regulators of serial events during development phases. To elucidate the mechanism of those developmental events, the regulatory relationships between the regulatory factors and specific expressed genes behind the phenomenon should be uncovered.
In our former research, we developed and applied one statistical method based on Structural Equation Modeling (SEM), combined with factor analysis, to expression profiles and other numerical data. We are trying to develop a new method which utilizing system structuring theory for inferring the activated parts by some specific conditions.

Ultra-high-resolution and high precision mass spectrometry of animal and plant tissues
 







Ultra-high-resolution and high precision mass spectrometry of animal and plant tissues (Katsutoshi TAKAHASHI)

MALDI imaging mass spectrometry (imaging MS) has been a powerful tool to map the spatial distribution of molecules on the surface of biological materials. This technique has frequently been applied to animal tissue slices for the purpose to map proteins, peptides , lipids, sugars or small metabolites to find disease specific bio-markers or to study drag metabolism. We developed a new in-house built imaging mass spectrometer with modifying MALDI/LDI-FTICR-MS. Employing this mass spectrometer, the imaging MS with ultra-high-mass resolution (> 100,000), ultra-high-molecular mass accuracy (< 1 ppm) and high-spatial resolution (< 10 µm) can be applicable to both of animal and plant tissues, elucidating the precise localization of various small metabolites and unknown compounds with determining precise mass and elemental composition of them.

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Research Achievements

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Staff Members

Photo Position & Name Email Address
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Group Leader
Kazuo SHIN-YA
Email AddressEmail Address
Katsutoshi TAKAHASHI
Senior Researcher
Katsutoshi TAKAHASHI
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Senior Researcher
Naoki SHIGI
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Senior Researcher
Hikaru SUENAGA
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Senior Researcher
Sachiyo ABURATANI
(CBBD-OIL* Deputy Director)
Email AddressEmail Address
Web Sitehttp://cbrc3.cbrc.jp/~aburatani/
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Senior Researcher
Daisuke TOMINAGA
(CBBD-OIL*)
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Researcher
Takuya HASHIMOTO
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Researcher
Kei KUDO
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    * CBBD-OIL: AIST-Waseda University Computational Bio Big-Data Open Innovation Laboratory

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