Reseach Projects of New Site 0

We have studied glycobiology as well as sugar metabolism-related diseases including diabetes mellitus using biochemical, glycotechnological, and molecular biological procedures.
Employing new research tools and techniques, we are characterizing the structure, functions, and biosynthetic mechanisms of intriguing polysaccharides, glycosaminoglycans (hyaluronan, chondroitin sulfate, heparin etc.). Our application studies include the development of drugs for the prevention as well as the treatment of diabetes mellitus, obesity, and other diseases

There are many interesting projects for those who like biochemistry, cell biology, and molecular biology, as well as who want to carry out application studies such as the development of new therapeutics and health foods, respectively. We welcome you to visit our laboratory!

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Research Projects

We investigate the structure, functions and biosynthesis of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), sulfated polysaccharides with high biological activities. Although sulfated GAGs are abundant in the animal kingdom, their presence in the vegetable world has never been reported. GAGs play important roles in cell proliferation, differentiation, cell-cell adhesion, and anticoagulation. In our laboratory, the physiological roles of these sulfated polysaccharides as well as the relationship between these sulfated polysaccharides and various diseases are investigated. The following projects are currently in progress.

If you are interested in saccharides, proteoglycan, and glycosaminoglycan, you can connect to the following web sites to get more information about them.
Hyaluronan Today
GlycoPOD (GlycoScience Protocol Online Database)

Many oligosaccharides derived from GAGs are isolated and their structures are determined by various analytical methods including HPLC, NMR and MS. We continue with expansion of the GAG oligosaccharide library and investigate the functions of GAGs using those oligosaccharides. We are developing strategies for establishment of a universal sequencing method of GAG sugar chains using nanotechnology.

We prepare the recombinant proteins of the enzymes responsible for the biosynthesis or metabolism of sulfated GAG chains by molecular biological techniques. Characteristics and functions of the enzymes are analyzed. We also investigate the alteration of their expression pattern under pathological conditions such as cancer and infectious diseases. Application of a recombinant GAG-degrading enzyme to the treatment of spinal cord injury is planned.

We generate mice deficient in an enzyme responsible for the biosynthesis or metabolism of sulfated GAG chains. Using these knockout mice, the in vivo functions of GAGs are investigated.

We analyze GAGs from model organisms such as a nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and a fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. The results obtained using these lower animals are helpful for functional analysis of GAGs in higher organisms and comparative biochemical studies on GAGs.

Cell surface GAGs are receptors for various viral infections, but the detailed modifications in the sulfated domain structures that are recognized on the target sugar chains remain unclear. We therefore aim to elucidate the sugar chain structures recognized by viruses in order to develop new drugs such as antiviral agents targeting sugar chains.

GAGs are administered to model mice with allergic rhinitis, and the effects are investigated. We also plan to investigate the molecular mechanism of the process.

Based on studies of the regulation of sugar metabolism by translocation of glucokinase between the nucleus and the cytoplasm in liver cells, we try to elucidate the mechanism of onset of diabetes mellitus and obesity. We also make efforts to develop a new preventive medicine or a remedy for diabetes mellitus and obesity.

We investigate a rare sugar D-psicose which promotes the translocation of liver glucokinase from the nucleus to the cytoplasm to use it as a preventive medicine or a remedy for diabetes mellitus and obesity.

We are developing new enteral nutrients. Based on the investigation of the nutritional assessment of semisolid enteral nutrients, our research discipline is expanding to nutrition administration.