Single molecule detection has contributed to our understanding of the unique mechanisms of life. Unlike artificial man-made machines, biological molecular machines integrate thermal noises rather than avoid them. For example, single molecule detection has demonstrated that myosin motors undergo biased Brownian motion for stepwise movement and that single protein molecules spontaneously change their conformation, for switching to interactions with other proteins, in response to thermal fluctuation. Thus, molecular machines have flexibility and efficiency not seen in artificial machines.
A brief review is presented of our studies on the structure of glycoprotein-derived glycans. The emphasis is on the introduction of high-resolution 1H-NMR spectroscopy for the unambiguous determination of primary structures. For this purpose, we developed the structural reporter group concept. Structural reporters are defined as unique markers of structural elements in the NMR spectra. Application of this concept led to the discovery of numerous new structures. Furthermore, a number of structures presented in the literature could be corrected. The results are relevant for insight in the various steps in glycan metabolism in health and disease, for the function and mode of action of glycans in vivo and for the interpretation of structural information obtained through other techniques. The strength of the approach is further shown for several highly complex glycoproteins, carrying very heterogeneous and complicated glycans.
The solar corona is a tenuous outer atmosphere of the Sun. Its million-degree temperature was discovered spectroscopically in the 1940s, but its origin has been debated since then without complete convergence. Currently there are two classes of models; the wave theory and the microflare/nanoflare theory. Both models have merits and disadvantages, but the essential issues are nearly pinned down. Recent revival of the wave theory is one of the many contributions from Japanese solar observing satellite Hinode launched in 2006.