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Division of Structural Biomolecular Science

 Many complex biological phenomena are caused by the functions of small molecules and changes in the interactions between biomolecules, which are not directly regulated using genetic information. In the postgenomic era, to gain insight in such phenomena, we focus on the structures and interactions of natural products, glycans, and biomembranes. Unveiling the localization and dynamics of metabolites is also important because they are related to their functions. Recent advanced spectroscopic instruments and organic molecular probes are essential tools for the study of molecular mechanisms in biological phenomena. In the context of structural biomolecular sciences, which are based on organic chemistry, biochemistry, analytical chemistry, and structural biology, we study molecular mechanisms of life phenomena by combining the visualization of the metabolite dynamics, the identification of bioactive molecules, and the chemical synthesis of functional molecules.

Group Members

Division of Structural Biomolecular Science

General Manager/ Executive Researcher​

Tohru YAMAGAKI

Specially Appointed Manager

Keiko SHIMAMOTO

Senior Researcher

Kaoru NOMURA

Researcher

Manabu HORIKAWA

Researcher

Erisa HARADA

Researcher

Kohtaro SUGAHARA

Researcher

Kohki FUJIKAWA

Researcher

Shoko MORI

Technical Assistant

Yuka KIMURA

Technical Assistant

Hiromi TOYONAGA

Research Planning Division

Specially Appointed Manager​

Keiko SHIMAMOTO

Technical Assistant

Takehiro WATANABE

Technical Assistant

Yukie OHBA

Technical Assistant

Tsukiho OSAWA

Research Projects

1. Space and Time-resolved Localization Analysis of Metabolites

In conventional biochemistry, current limitations in scientific and analytical methods hinder elucidating precisely the location and function of biomolecules. Recently, developments in mass spectrometry (MS) have enabled the detection and identification of metabolites and proteins. We study plant physiological phenomena and their associated molecular mechanisms on the basis of space- and time-resolved localization analysis of metabolites using MS.


Viola cornuta
Viola cornuta

Blue Coloration Mechanism in Viola Petals

Flowers have beautiful colors and striking patterns to attract insects like bees, which assist in pollination, and are an important organ for plant reproduction. Flowers contain flavonoids, which filter the strong UV sunlight for protection. We study the localization, amount, and species of flavonoids present in the pigments in petals and their growth process using imaging MS. In conventional biochemical research, because whole flowers are homogenized and the flavonoids extracted, any localization information is lost. Using the recently developed quantitative imaging MS and single-cell MS to perform space- and time-resolved localization analysis of flavonoids, we plan to reveal the physiological roles of flavonoids in plants during the growth process and coloration changes in flowers.