Functional dynamics in the cell

1. Overview

With recent development of measurement technologies such as cryo-electron microscopy, super-resolution microscopy, and high-speed atomic force microscopy, the observation of fine structure and dynamics inside cells is becoming possible at the molecular and atomic levels. Meanwhile, new life phenomena featuring membrane-organelle contact and membrane-less organelles by liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) have been reported. Based on these progress, ongoing scientific discoveries generate new concept toward new cell biology for understanding cellular function with temporal and spatial information.
For deeper understanding of undefined cellular function, it is necessary not only to find each element and reaction cascade in cells, but also to obtain comprehensive data involving cellular dynamics and its function by focusing on supramolecular complex (such as organelle and membrane-less organelle). Besides, novel technology should be built to visualize mesoscopic scale intermediate between molecular scale and cell scale at atomic resolution. In parallel, analytical methods and simulation models are needed to integrate data acquired from various aspects.

2. Targets

This strategic objective aims to discover unexplained principles in living cells and lead to establish theories through investigation for measurement technology, molecular manipulation and analytical methods, and simulation focusing on intracellular components, especially supramolecular complexes. In particular, the following four targets are to be achieved.
(1) Development of core technology for visualizing and analyzing supramolecular complexes with high-quality and quantitative temporal and spatial data
(2) Elucidation of the principles of dynamics and function in microenvironment of living cell complex system
(3) Development of techniques and tool materials to manipulate and regulate supramolecular complexes
(4) Understanding of interactions of supramolecular complexes and relationships between structure and function of supramolecular complexes


Office for Basic Research Projects, Basic Research Promotion Division, Research Promotion Bureau