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update: March 11, 2009


C. elegans


General Description

Aim of our department is to contribute to global health and welfare from basic research. Our department, formerly named Biochemistry and Nutrition, was renamed on April 1st, 1996 to Department of Biomedical Chemistry as newly affiliating with Biomedical Science Division of International Health, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo. Professor Kita moved from Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo, on March 1st, 1998. Therefore, we are quite new and all of our members are highly motivated to development of new scientific fields.

Research Activities

Energy metabolism is essential for the survival, continued growth and reproduction of living organisms. From the standpoint of biological adaptation, we have been studying on the molecular mechanism of energy transducing systems such as mitochondrial and bacterial respiratory chain. Furthermore, we are studying function and biogenesis of RNA and RNA-protein complex. Our research have been focusing on:

1. Human mitochondria: (1) succinate dehydrogenase and (2) mitochondrial myopathy.

2. Ascaris suum and Caenorhabditis elegans: (1) molecular mechanism of adaptation to low oxygen tension (regulation of gene expression of mitochondrial proteins), (2) mitochondrial fumarate reductase (structure function relationship, enzyme evolution), and (3) C. elegans as a model system of parasitic nematodes (expression of foreign genes or cDNAs, gene knockout).

3. Malaria and trypanosome (Plasmodium falciparum, Trypanosoma brucei): (1) characterization of mitochondria as a target for the chemotherapy, (2) molecular biology of mitochondrial DNA, and (3) structure based drug design (SBDD).

4. Escherichia coli and Mycobacterium: (1) succinate dehydrogenase complex (mechanism of molecular assembly, electron transport mechanism in the complex), and (2) regulation of energy supply.

5. Mitochondrial translation system: function and evolution of protein factors interacting extraordinary truncated tRNA and rRNA.

6. Ribosome biogenesis in Eukarya and Archaea.

Course Description

Biochemistry and Nutrition I (2 credits)
Professor Kita and Staff

This course is comprised of lectures, seminars, and experiments to provide basic concepts and newer vistas for understanding nutrition with special reference to biochemistry and physiological chemistry. These include the structure and function of biomolecules, metabolism, its regulation, and underlying mechanism at either molecular, cellular or systemic level, organ biochemistry, or organ/organ interaction, and homeostasis.

Biochemistry and Nutrition II (2 credits)
Professor Kita and Staff

In this course nutrition is considered under physiological and pathological conditions. We deal with biological rhythms, growth/aging, fasting/obesity, deficiency, malnutrition/overnutrition, acquired and inborn errors of metabolisms, infectious and chronic diseases, diet therapies, enzyme/coenzyme therapies, and parental nutrition.

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