Proceedings of the Japan Academy, Series B
Online ISSN : 1349-2896
Print ISSN : 0386-2208
ISSN-L : 0386-2208
Volume 86 , Issue 5
Showing 1-7 articles out of 7 articles from the selected issue
Reviews
  • Tsuneyoshi KUROIWA
    2010 Volume 86 Issue 5 Pages 455-471
    Published: May 11, 2010
    Released: May 12, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Mitochondria and plastids have their own DNAs and are regarded as descendants of endosymbiotic prokaryotes. Organellar DNAs are not naked in vivo but are associated with basic proteins to form DNA-protein complexes (called organelle nuclei). The concept of organelle nuclei provides a new approach to explain the origin, division, and inheritance of organelles. Organelles divide using organelle division rings (machineries) after organelle-nuclear division. Organelle division machineries are a chimera of the FtsZ (filamentous temperature sensitive Z) ring of bacterial origin and the eukaryotic mechanochemical dynamin ring. Thus, organelle division machineries contain a key to solve the origin of organelles (eukaryotes). The maternal inheritance of organelles developed during sexual reproduction and it is also probably intimately related to the origin of organelles. The aims of this review are to describe the strategies used to reveal the dynamics of organelle division machineries, and the significance of the division machineries and maternal inheritance in the origin and evolution of eukaryotes.

    (Communicated by Nobutaka HIROKAWA, M.J.A.)
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  • Masahiro IRIE
    2010 Volume 86 Issue 5 Pages 472-483
    Published: May 11, 2010
    Released: May 12, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Photochromism is defined as a reversible transformation of a chemical species between two isomers upon photoirradiation. Although vast numbers of photochromic molecules have been so far reported, photochromic molecules which exhibit thermally irreversible photochromic reactivity are limited to a few examples. The thermal irreversibility is an indispensable property for the application of photochromic molecules to optical memories and switches. We have developed a new class of photochromic molecules named “diarylethenes”, which show the thermally irreversible photochromic reactivity. The well designed diarylethene derivatives provide outstanding photochromic performance: both isomers are thermally stable for more than 470,000 years, photoinduced coloration/decoloration can be repeated more than 105 cycles, the quantum yield of cyclization reaction is close to 1 (100%), and the response times of both coloration and decoloration are less than 10 ps. This review describes theoretical background of the photochromic reactions, color changes of the derivatives in solution as well as in the single crystalline phase, and application of the crystals to light-driven actuators.

    (Communicated by Kenichi HONDA, M.J.A.)
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  • Akira ENDO
    2010 Volume 86 Issue 5 Pages 484-493
    Published: May 11, 2010
    Released: May 12, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Cholesterol is essential for the functioning of all human organs, but it is nevertheless the cause of coronary heart disease. Over the course of nearly a century of investigation, scientists have developed several lines of evidence that establish the causal connection between blood cholesterol, atherosclerosis, and coronary heart disease. Building on that knowledge, scientists and the pharmaceutical industry have successfully developed a remarkably effective class of drugs—the statins—that lower cholesterol levels in blood and reduce the frequency of heart attacks.

    (Communicated by Teruhiko BEPPU, M.J.A.)
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  • Nobuhiro HAYASHI, Koiti TITANI
    2010 Volume 86 Issue 5 Pages 494-508
    Published: May 11, 2010
    Released: May 12, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    N-myristoylation, one of the co- or post-translational modifications of proteins, has so far been regarded as necessary for anchoring of proteins to membranes. Recently, we have revealed that Nα-myristoylation of several brain proteins unambiguously regulates certain protein–protein interactions that may affect signaling pathways in brain. Comparison of the amino acid sequences of myristoylated proteins including those in other organs suggests that this regulation is involved in signaling pathways not only in brain but also in other organs. Thus, it has been shown that myristoylated proteins in cells regulate the signal transduction between membranes and cytoplasmic fractions. An algorithm we have developed to identify myristoylated proteins in cells predicts the presence of hundreds of myristoylated proteins. Interestingly, a large portion of the myristoylated proteins thought to take part in signal transduction between membranes and cytoplasmic fractions are included in the predicted myristoylated proteins. If the proteins functionally regulated by myristoylation, a posttranslational protein modification, were understood as cross-talk points within the intracellular signal transduction system, known signaling pathways could thus be linked to each other, and a novel map of this intracellular network could be constructed. On the basis of our recent results, this review will highlight the multifunctional aspects of protein N-myristoylation in brain.

    (Communicated by Shigetada NAKANISHI, M.J.A.)
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  • Tadaomi TAKENAWA
    2010 Volume 86 Issue 5 Pages 509-523
    Published: May 11, 2010
    Released: May 12, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    The mechanism by which cell and cell membrane shapes are created has long been a subject of great interest. Among the phosphoinositide-binding proteins, a group of proteins that can change the shape of membranes, in addition to the phosphoinositide-binding ability, has been found. These proteins, which contain membrane-deforming domains such as the BAR, EFC/F-BAR, and the IMD/I-BAR domains, led to inward-invaginated tubes or outward protrusions of the membrane, resulting in a variety of membrane shapes. Furthermore, these proteins not only bind to phosphoinositide, but also to the N-WASP/WAVE complex and the actin polymerization machinery, which generates a driving force to shape the membranes.

    (Communicated by Takao SEKIYA, M.J.A.)
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  • Masayuki AMAGAI
    2010 Volume 86 Issue 5 Pages 524-537
    Published: May 11, 2010
    Released: May 12, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Desmosomes are intercellular adhesive junctions of epithelial cells that contain two major transmembrane components, the desmogleins (Dsg) and desmocollins (Dsc), which are cadherin-type cell–cell adhesion molecules and are anchored to intermediate filaments of keratin through interactions with plakoglobin and desmoplakin. Desmosomes play an important role in maintaining the proper structure and barrier function of the epidermis and mucous epithelia. Four Dsg isoforms have been identified to date, Dsg1–Dsg4, and are involved in several skin and heart diseases. Dsg1 and Dsg3 are the two major Dsg isoforms in the skin and mucous membranes, and are targeted by IgG autoantibodies in pemphigus, an autoimmune disease of the skin and mucous membranes. Dsg1 is also targeted by exfoliative toxin (ET) released by Staphylococcus aureus in the infectious skin diseases bullous impetigo and staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome (SSSS). ET is a unique serine protease that shows lock and key specificity to Dsg1. Dsg2 is expressed in all tissues possessing desmosomes, including simple epithelia and myocardia, and mutations in this gene are responsible for arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy/dysplasia. Dsg4 plays an important adhesive role mainly in hair follicles, and Dsg4 mutations cause abnormal hair development. Recently, an active disease model for pemphigus was generated by a unique approach using autoantigen-deficient mice that do not acquire tolerance against the defective autoantigen. Adoptive transfer of Dsg3−/− lymphocytes into mice expressing Dsg3 induces stable anti-Dsg3 IgG production with development of the pemphigus phenotype. This mouse model is a valuable tool with which to investigate immunological mechanisms of harmful IgG autoantibody production in pemphigus. Further investigation of desmoglein molecules will continue to provide insight into the unsolved pathophysiological mechanisms of diseases and aid in the development of novel therapeutic strategies with minimal side effects.

    (Communicated by Kimishige ISHIZAKA, M.J.A.)
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