Elucidation of dynamical structures of biomolecules toward understanding the mechanisms underlying their functions

A wide variety of biomacromolecules have adopted their own three-dimensional structures during the long process of evolution and thereby enabled them to express sophisticated functions in the biological systems. Our biomolecular studies are based on detailed analyses of structures and dynamics of various biological macromolecules and their complexes at atomic level, primarily using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. In particular, we conducted studies aimed at elucidating the dynamic structures of glycoconjugates and proteins for integrative understanding of the mechanisms underlying their biological functions. For this purpose, we use multidisciplinary approaches integrating the methodologies of molecular and cellular biology and nanoscience along with molecular spectroscopy.

Dynamical ordering of biomolecular systems for creation of integrated functions

Living systems are characterized as dynamic processes of assembly and disassembly of various biomolecules that are self-organized, interacting with the external environment. The omics-based approaches developed in recent decades have provided comprehensive information regarding biomolecules as parts of living organisms. However, fundamental questions still remain unsolved as to how these biomolecules are ordered autonomously to form flexible and robust systems. Biomolecules with complicated, flexible structures are self-organized through weak interactions giving rise to supramolecular complexes that adopt their own dynamic, asymmetric architectures. These processes are coupled with expression of integrated functions in the biomolecular systems.

Toward an integrative understanding of the principles behind the biomolecular ordering processes, we conduct multidisciplinary approaches based on detailed analyses of dynamic structures and interactions of biomolecules at atomic level, in conjunction with the methodologies of molecular and cellular biology along with synthetic and computational techniques.