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Department of Quantitative Biology and Medicine

Drug design for intractable diseases by quantitative biological approaches

The objective of our research is to find a new therapeutic strategy for cancer and severe inflammatory diseases through understanding the biological phenomena in dynamic molecular interactions. Our challenges in the quantitative biological approaches are the establishment of FRET (fluorescent resonance energy transfer) probe of GPCR (G-protein coupled receptor) signaling for live cell imaging of chemotaxis,, the computer-assisted drug design based on the protein structure and thermodynamic analysis of protein interactions for the cancer treatment, the development of water-window X-ray microscope, the molecular pattern recognition analysis in the host defense mechanism in innate immunity, and the protein – RNA interactions in the regulation of RNA splicing related to the cell cycle control.


A paper describing the remarkable effect of PTX3 against sepsis is published in the Science Signaling by Project Assistant Professor Kenji Daigo.
Paper published online: Identification of Wilms' tumor 1-associating protein complex and its role in alternative splicing and the cell cycle. Horiuchi K, Kawamura T, Iwanari H, Ohashi R, Naito M, Kodama T, Hamakubo T. J Biol Chem. 2013 Oct 7. [Epub ahead of print]
In collaboration with Project Assistant Professor Takeshi Kawamura and Associate Professor Kenji Inoue and colleagues of Juntendo University Nerima Hospital, Project Assistant Professor Kenji Daigo examined the PTX3 complex from patients with sepsis by comparative qualitative proteomic analysis and found that PTX3 functions as a pattern recognition receptor and forms a complex with inflammation-related proteins and neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) proteins such as azurocidin. The result of this study has been published in Molecular & Cellular Proteomics.
An antibody prepared by Project Assistant Professor Hiroko Iwanari and research fellow Osamu Kusano-Arai, in collaboration with Project Associate Professor Takeshi Murata of Chiba University and Professor So Iwata, Lecturer Takuya Kobayashi, Researcher Tomoya Hino (currently, lecturer of Tottori University), and colleagues at the Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, was found to be an inverse agonist of the A2a adenosine receptor on the basis of X-ray crystal structure analysis. The result of this study has been published in Nature (digital edition).
In collaboration with Professor Iwatsubo and Associate Professor Tomita, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Tokyo, a new paper was published in Oncogene, describing that an antibody that we produced against nicastrin is a candidate for a novel therapeutic agent that inhibits γ-secretase activity and abolishes growth of cancer cells in which the Notch signaling pathway is in overdrive.
A paper was published in EMBO Journal by the group led by Professor Minami, describing a study in which the regulation of endomucin expression was elucidated using an antibody against GATA2, produced by the baculovirus expression system.
In collaboration with the group led by Professor Kondoh, Osaka University, a paper was published in Biochem Biophys Res Commun, describing that a mutated peptide of Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin, screened using baculovirus display with claudin-4, modulates tight junctions.