Principles of protein molecular motors

Protein molecular motors support life, and are far superior to synthetic molecular machines in many aspects [1-3]. In order to clarify their operational and design principles, we investigate the motion and function of individual protein molecular motors, and engineer protein molecular motors that do not exist in nature [4].


[1] Iino R et al, Chemical Reviews (2020) "Introduction: Molecular Motors"
[2] The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016 "The design and synthesis of molecular machines"
[3] Peplow M, Nature (2015) "The tiniest Lego: a tale of nanoscale motors, rotors, switches and pumps"
[4] An Interview posted in the website of IMS (April 2, 2020)

Understand protein molecular motors

We unveil operational principles of protein molecular motors. We are studying linear [1-9] and rotary molecular motors [10-12] which generate mechanical forces and torques from chemical energy or electrochemical potential. Especially, we focus on new molecular motors such as chitinasescellulases and V-ATPases. Our study is based on state-of-the-art single-molecule imaging.

We are developing new single-molecule methods such as high-speed/high-precision imaging with plasmonic nanoprobes [3, 8-10, 12-15]. We also collaborate with Prof. Takayuni Uchihashi (Nagoya Univ) for single-molecule imaging with high-speed AFM [16] and development of hybrid instruments [17]. We also determine structures of protein molecular motors by using X-ray crystallography [3] and cryo-EM single-particle analysis by collaborations with Prof. Akihiko Nakamura (Shizuoka Univ) and Prof. Kazuyoshi Murata (NIPS), respectively.


私たちは光学顕微鏡1分子計測を分子モーターの解析に駆使します。プラズモニックナノプローブ高速・高精度1分子計測の開発を行っています[3, 8-10, 12-15]。また、内橋貴之さん(名大)との共同研究で高速AFM1分子計測[16]や光学顕微鏡・高速AFM複合機[17]の開発も行っています。さらに、中村彰彦さん(静岡大)とX線結晶構造解析[3]、村田和義さん(生理研)とクライオ電顕単粒子解析[11]、岡崎圭一さん(分子研)とMDや数理シミュレーション[2]の共同研究を行っています。

[1] J Biol Chem 2020, [2] J Phys Chem 2020 (Press release), [3] Nat Commun. 2018, [4] PCCP 2018 (Backcover), [5] J Biol Chem 2020 (Press release), [6] J Biol Chem 2016 (Cover), [7] J Biol Chem 2014, [8] Sci Rep 2020 (Press release), [9] Nat Chem Biol 2016, [10] J Biol Chem 2019 (Press release), [11] Sci Rep 2018, [12] J Biol Chem 2014, [13] Biophys J 2018 (Press release), [14] ACS Photonics2019 (Press release), [15] Anal Chem 2015, [16] Nat Commun. 2018, [17] BBA Gen Sub 2020

Engineer protein molecular motors

To understand their design principles, we engineer protein molecular motors by using saturation mutagenesis and robot-based automation [18, 19], hybridization [20], and computational design [21, 22]. Computational design is conducted by collaboration with Prof. Nobuyasu Koga and Prof. Takahiro Kosugi (IMS).

私たちは天然に存在しないタンパク質分子モーターをつくることにチャレンジしています。網羅的変異体作製ロボットによる自動化[18, 19]、異種分子間のハイブリッド化[20]、計算科学による合理設計[21, 22]を駆使し、タンパク質分子モーターを改造してその設計原理を理解します。合理設計は古賀信康さん、小杉貴洋さん(分子研)との共同研究で進めています。

[18] ACS Omega 2020, [19] ACS Omega 2018, [20] PNAS 2016, [21] Biochemistry 2015, [22] bioRxiv 2020