NAIST Division of Materials Science

Supramolecular Science Laboratory

Staff & Contact
Educational StaffProf. Shun Hirota
Associate Prof. Takashi Matsuo
Assistant Prof. Satoshi Nagao, Masaru Yamanaka
TEL: +81-743-72-6110

In living organisms, a variety of biomolecules such as proteins, DNA, and sugars form unique supramolecular assemblies to maintain biofunctions. Based on chemical knowledge of the functions and structures of these bio-supramolecules at the molecular level, our laboratory focuses on elucidation of the function mechanisms and design/applications of bio-supramolecules using various spectroscopic analysis methods, protein engineering techniques, and organic syntheses.

We develop new protein supramolecules and polymers for functional biomaterials based on a new concept in which a protein molecule is used as a structural unit. (Fig.1)

We design artificial proteins with multi-active sites exhibiting antibacterial activity and ligand binding properties. (Fig. 2) These proteins are attracting attention in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical science fields.

Accumulation of proteins with unusual structures in tissues causes various diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and mad cow disease (conformation disease). We investigate denaturalization of these proteins at the molecular level and develop strategies to inhibit the denaturalization.

To utilize the energy production system in nature, we elucidate the H2 production and decomposition mechanisms of a metalloenzyme, hydrogenase, using spectroscopic methods.

To understand and regulate bioreactions, we develop methods for bioreaction regulation based on interactions between biomolecules from the perspective of medicinal chemistry and chemical biology.

We aim at developing novel biocatalysts and artificial protein, or “molecular design-based functional biomolecules”, and apply these biomolecules for organic syntheses and regulation of naturally occurring bioreactions. This strategy is based on complementary advantages of synthetic chemistry and biochemical approaches such as genetic engineering methods. (Fig. 3)

  • Fig. 1
    Elucidated structures of cytochrome c supramolecules.
  • Fig. 2
    Creation of antibacterial protein supramolecules

Fig. 3
X-ray crystallographic structure of an artificial fluorescent protein constructed by a combination of genetic and synthetic methods

1.  Yuyama, M. Ueda, S. Nagao, S. Hirota, T. Sugiyama, H. Masuhara, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 56, 6739-6743 (2017) (selected as Hot Paper).

2.  Kobayashi, S. Nagao, S. Hirota, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 55, 14019-14022 (2016).

3.  Y.-W. Lin, S. Nagao, M. Zhang, Y. Shomura, Y. Higuchi, S. Hirota, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 54 511-515 (2015).

4.  A.Fujii, Y. Sekiguchi, H. Matsumura, T. Inoue, W.-S. Chung. S. Hirota, T. Matsuo, Bioconjugate Chem., 26 537-548 (2015).

5.  T.Matsuo, K. Yamada, M. Ishida, Y. Miura, M. Yamanaka, S. Hirota, Bull. Chem. Soc. Jpn., 88, 1222-1229 (2015) (BCSJ Award).


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