Division of Materials Science, NAIST

Supramolecular Science Laboratory

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

We are performing new interdisciplinary researches in chemistry and biology. 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.


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

We construct new protein supramolecules and polymers like puzzles, based on a new concept in which a building block protein is used as a structural unit (Fig.1).

We design and make 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.

To understand the chemistry of life, we investigate enzymatic reactions using spectroscopic methods. For example, we elucidate the H2 production and decomposition mechanisms of a metalloenzyme, hydrogenase.

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.A. Oda et al., Chem. Asian J., 13, 964-967 (2018) (Featured on “Front Cover”).
2.T. Matsuo et al., Chem. Eur. J., 24, 2767-2775 (2018).
3.Y. Shomura et al., Science, 357, 928-932 (2017).
4.K. Yuyama et al., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 56, 6739-6743 (2017) (Selected as “Hot Paper”).
5.H. Kobayashi et al., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 55, 14019-14022 (2016).
6.Y.-W. Lin et al., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 54 511-515 (2015).
7.A. Fujii et al., Bioconjugate Chem., 26 537-548 (2015).
8.T. Matsuo et al., Bull. Chem. Soc. Jpn., 88, 1222-1229 (2015) (BCSJ Award).


Pickup Contents

  • Nanotechnology Platform