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Integrated functional analyses of disease-associated sugar chains and proteins

One of the most important biomedical goals of science in the post-genomic era is to identify the functional properties of proteins and elucidate the cause and treatment of human diseases. Over 50 % of proteins undergo glycosylation but the precise function of the sugar chains continues to be a subject of study. In fact, glycosylation occurs most frequently among the post-translational modifications of proteins.
There are three groups with ten core members and encompasses, and those three groups focus on 1) functional analyses of disease-associated sugar chains and proteins in vitro and in vivo, 2) functional disorders of organelles such as the endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus and mitochondria that are involved in nerve degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cancer and life-style associated diseases as well as hepatitis, 3) the development of high-through put analyses and ultra-micro analyses for sugar chains and proteins such as glycoproteomics which is an important part of our work (see Figure). In this program, core members are mostly from Osaka University Medical School, partly from Osaka Medical Center for Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases, and Osaka Medical Center and Research Institute for Maternal and Child Health both of which participate jointly in a graduate school program. We intend to characterize the causes and mechanisms of the above diseases in this research project which have not been clarified by previous approaches and create a novel and unique Center of Excellence (COE).
The COE encourages young scientists and graduate students who wish to participate in future biomedical sciences. An MD/PhD program is already in place, which is designed for the education and training of exceptionally highly qualified individuals who want to pursue careers in biomedical sciences. We will financially support MD/PhD candidates, as well as graduate students as research associates. We also plan to create an endowed professorship designated as the Dr. Koan Ogata Professorship, named after the great educator and scholar who introduced medical science from the Netherlands into Japan at the end of the Edo period and opened his private school, Tekijuku, in Osaka. Moreover, we plan to invite an excellent, internationally renowned scientist in this field to participate in research projects and interact with postdoctoral fellows. Lastly, we will provide partial subsidies to graduate students, faculty and staff to defray a portion of their expenses at the day care centers inside the campus which will be collaborated with the university.
The goals of the COE program are to pursue creative and innovative research in this field and integrate glycobiology with systems glycobiology and explore the role of sugar chains in biological systems in the 21st century. We also plan to provide an optimal environment for education and research which utilizes the individual talents of participating faculty and students leading to a great understanding of the cause and treatment of human diseases. Our overall goal of this COE program is to become a "center of world caliber" in the 21st century by fulfilling Osaka University's motto "Live Locally, Grow Globally".


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Integrated functional analyses of disease-associated sugar chains and proteins, Osaka University