Frontier Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences
Tohoku University

Research Projects

Creative Interdisciplinary Collaboration Program 2022

Assist. Prof. Shinichi Sato

Title Development of high-efficient method to detect protein denaturing regions.
Priod 2022-2023

Protein denaturation is involved in various diseases and is an important research topic. In this project, we focus on the unique property of the denatured structure that hydrophobic structures are exposed on the surface of proteins and develop a technique to capture them chemically. This technology will make it possible to visualize the denatured structure of proteins and quantify the degree of denaturation. In addition to accelerating life science research, this technology will directly lead to diagnostic technologies for the early detection of neurodegenerative diseases and dementia in an aging society.

Sato has been studying the chemistry of capturing the denatured structure of proteins and has developed a probe molecule that visualizes the degree of protein denaturation. However, there is much room for improvement in the detection efficiency of protein denaturation, and he aims to achieve a breakthrough through the fusion of different fields in this project.

Specifically, we will work on two research topics:

(1) Improvement of denaturation calculation accuracy by cross-validation of MD calculations and detection experiments of thermal denaturation changes of proteins.

We aim to improve the accuracy of simulations of the protein denaturation process by refining the calculation method of actual measurements and the calculation method. This approach can only be achieved through joint research in different fields and is expected to provide precious information with protein denaturation process simulations.

(2) Rational design and optimization of protein denaturation probe molecules by MD calculations.

Mabuchi will perform docking simulations of a protein molecule in the denaturation process (macromolecule) with a probe molecule whose structure has been changed (small molecule), which Sato has already created. Sato will synthesize the hypothetical molecule with good calculation results and verify whether the denatured state of the protein can be detected more efficiently.