RIKEN Genomic Sciences Center, 1-7-22 Suehiro-cho, Tsurumi, Yokohama 230-0045, RIKEN Harima Institute at SPring-8, 1-1-1 Kouto, Mikazuki-cho, Sayo, Hyogo 679-5148, and Department of Biophysics and Biochemistry, Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.
The RIKEN Institute has started the Structural Genomics Initiative (http://www.rsgi.riken.go.jp) at the Genomic Sciences Center (GSC) in October, 1998, and then at the Harima Institute at SPring-8 in October, 1999. As a member of the International Structural Genomics Consortium, we have started to determine the three-dimensional structures of proteins of new sequence families, the number of which is supposed to be about 10,000. In parallel, we are analyzing molecular and cellular functions of these proteins in order to establish the structure-function relationships.
For structure determination, we use both X-ray crystallography (the leader, M. Miyano) and NMR spectroscopy (the leader, S. Yokoyama). A new NMR facility with 16 NMR instruments (600 and 800 MHz) has been established. Two beamlines dedicated to structural genomics will be constructed at SPring-8 in Harima.
An extreme thermophile, Thermus thermophilus HB8, is the target organism for our pilot operation (the leader, S. Kuramitsu). T. thermophilus proteins are stable and suitable for crystallization. We have expressed and purified about 100 proteins. Furthermore, we are working on mouse full-length cDNA clones, which have been collected and sequenced by Dr. Y. Hayashizaki’s group of GSC. The target proteins are selected by bioinformatics on the basis of both sequence clustering and biological interest. For production of protein samples, we mainly use cell-free protein synthesis method.