Structural Biology Laboratory
We focus our studies on the central dogma of molecular biology, "DNA makes RNA makes protein", which are the processes of duplication (DNA → DNA), transcription (DNA → RNA), and translation (RNA → protein). We investigate the mechanisms underlying the extremely high specificities of these processes, with regard to the four bases and the twenty amino acids common to all organisms, at the level of the three-dimensional structures of protein•nucleic acid complexes by X-ray crystallographic structural studies. Furthermore, on the basis of the three-dimensional structures, we construct central dogma systems expanded with unnatural bases and amino acids. This combination of analytical and synthetic approaches allows us not only to understand the physicochemical mechanisms of the high specificities in the natural central dogma, but also to develop new biotechnologies with the distinct advantages of the unnatural bases and amino acids.