We are mainly focusing on post-genomic research in aging. We try to elucidate the mechanisms of normal aging and geriatric diseases by analyses of the processes of posttranslational modifications, specially focusing on glycosylation.
- 1. Dementia-associated change of glycoproteins
Glycosylation is a common type of posttranslational modification of proteins that can affect its function in many ways. We are focusing on changes of the glycosylation state of brain glycoproteins during dementia.
- 2. Research on a mouse model resembling human aging
Using an animal model, klotho mouse, that prematurely shows phenotypes resembling human aging, we found the abnormal activation of calpain. We try to characterize these detailed processes.
- 3. Glycobiology on neuro-muscular functions
We have found O-mannosyl glycan which plays an essential role in muscle function and maintenance. Defects in O-mannosyl glycan are the primary cause of congenital muscular dystrophies. We also revealed the synthetic pathway and entire structure of O-mannosyl glycan, including ribitol-5-phosphate, which is a novel structure in mammals. Thus, glycans are important for muscle function, we are trying to unravel the relationship of the glycan changes and age-associated deterioration of muscle.
Based on above strategies, we will open a new venue for the post-genomic research in gerontology and geriatrics.