Artificial cell membranes (giant lipid vesicles and giant liposomes) have been used for investigating lipid-biomolecules (peptides and proteins) interactions, membrane dynamics, and synthesis of proteins in simplified and isolated in vitro environments. Giant vesicles generated by conventional vesicle formation methods have limitations such as monodisperse generation, encapsulation efficiency, and asymmetric lipid membrane formation. The use of microfabrication technology facilitates the generations of well-controlled giant vesicles. In this review, we introduce the method and application of the giant vesicles using microfluidic technologies.
Hydrogenases play crucial roles in the hydrogen metabolism by catalyzing the simple reaction: H2 ⇄ 2H+ + 2e–. While the enzymes are of industrial importance, there are a number of serious obstacles to the applications such as the catalytic electrode in the fuel cells, which include the stability to O2. Here we summarize the structural and functional properties of [NiFe]-hydrogenases with focusing the protective mechanism against O2. The recent our studies have revealed that not the catalytic site itself but the Fe-S cluster equipped as the electron pathway is of functional importance for preventing from the attack by O2.
Because light is not only energy source but also important signal for photosynthetic organisms, these organisms develop highly organized light acclimation processes. Linear tetrapyrrole-binding photoreceptors play central roles in these processes. They are categorized into phytochrome and cyanobacteriochrome families. Here, we summarize current knowledge on these photoreceptor families especially focusing on color-tuning mechanisms of the cyanobacteriochromes. Because these photoreceptors possess many advantages for optogenetic and bio-imaging applications, we briefly introduce current developmental status of these photoreceptors.
Complex gene networks are essential for diverse biological phenomena, such as cellular programming, metabolism, homeostasis, memory formation, and circadian rhythm. To understand these biological phenomena, including diseases, and to utilize or modify them, approaches that enable optical control of the genome are required. We developed new tools for targeted gene manipulation based on optical control of the CRISPR-Cas9 system and Cre-loxP system. These tools could greatly facilitate understanding of a variety of gene functions and prove useful in biomedical applications. Genome engineering technology and optogenetics technology have emerged as different technologies from each other so far. Our studies merge these emerging research fields together.