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Biochemistry

  • Futoshi Kuribayashi Professor

Introduction of Staff and Research Interests

Introduction of Staff
Associate Professors:

Kenzo Fushitani , Shigenobu Tone and Akira Yamauchi

Research Associates:

Fumio Ohyama

Research Interests
1. Mechanism of apoptosis and its physiological function

We have demonstrated the presence of three steps in nuclear condensation in apoptosis.We are currently investigating the biochemical nature of the factors that play critical roles in these steps using cell-free apoptosis.

2. Interactions between Estrogen receptor and DNA
3. Tryptophan metabolism and parasite infections
4. Alanine-glyoxylate aminotransferase and its localization in peroxisomes

Diagnostic Commitments

  1. A diagnosis for Primary hyperoxaluria characterized by the genetic disorder encoding alanine-glyoxylate aminotransferase (AGXT: EC 2.6.1.44).
  2. A diagnosis for Chronic Granulomatous Disease (CGD).

Educational Features

The earth is filled with life, including insects, animals and plants. Life appears before us with various features. How do we perceive or understand life? The loss of cortical function results in loss of the mind. However, the cells, tissues and organs are still alive. Biochemistry can be defined as a discipline which seeks to understand life at the molecular level. Genetic structure and gene expression mechanisms, protein structure and function, and energy metabolism are common in living materials as fundamental processes that maintain life. With regard to human health, biochemistry works at the molecular level to investigate and understand the life-saving mechanisms of cells, organs and body fluids in the human body. Biochemistry is also concerned with pathogenesis below the molecular level, and can provide some insight concerning the effective treatment of diseases.

Our lectures describe and explain the systematic construction of the human body, from cells to tissues, from tissues to organs, and from organs to the whole body. The life of cells is intricately related to the actions of large molecules, and is supported by small molecules as energy and signal transducers. Genetic information is responsive to the metabolism of small molecules. Thus, the life of a cell is maintained by the constant interplay of multiple interactions that serve to produce an active cell state. We provide instruction on the metabolic regulation between energy supply and consumption. We also want to delineate the metabolic relations of carbohydrates, fats and amino acids. When all biochemical reactions are in harmony with each other, life will continue without deleterious effects. Any tiny irregularity in metabolism, however, will result in illness. Through the study of biochemistry, we hope students will understand and appreciate the mechanisms that sustain and support life, including the roles played by vitamins and hormones in the body’s metabolism. Metabolism is generally facilitated by unique protein molecules referred to as enzymes, each of which catalyzes a specific biochemical reaction. It is imperative that enzyme catalytic mechanisms are delineated to further our understanding of biochemical reaction mechanisms, and to show how this can facilitate the development of novel treatment strategies against diseases amenable to such approaches. We will also talk about the central dogma that relates genes to proteins. Neural and hormonal transductions will also be discussed, including the various signal transductions that take place within cells. By discussing these networks involving metabolism and signal transduction systems, students will develop an understanding of the metabolic disturbances associated with certain illnesses.

An experimental course of biochemistry is also included and is divided into two sections. One relates to glucose metabolism, and the other to lactate dehydrogenase. During these experimental sessions, we expect students to understand that starvation perturbs the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats, and that perchlorate-induced hepatitis causes the leakage of liver isozymes as shown in clinical examinations of hepatitis. A study of the Somogyi-Nelson method as well as ketone bodies and glycogen metabolism is also important.