生命科学研究所 Life Science Laboratory

SEIKO Life Science Laboratory, Osaka Japan 

 

Director General, Dr. Masa Tsuchiya

Background

The cell as the building block of the life system is the smallest structural and functional unit of the body. In the human body, there are approximately two-hundred different cell types with diverse biological functions, all of which originate from a single zygote cell (fertilized egg cell of two gametes: sperm and egg). It is astonishing to observe that a mammalian cell system, which possesses up to hundreds of thousands of complex biomolecules, produces, restores, maintains and integrates these molecules as specific nano tools to achieve a specific cell function as a whole in a single moment.

 

As one of the most surprising discoveries, Shinya Yamanaka (a Nobel laureate, 2012 from Kyoto University) and his team have demonstrated that human terminal (somatic) cells such as skin fibroblasts can be ‘reprogrammed’ or restored back to their cell potency as an embryo-like pluripotent cell (called, iPS - induced Pluripotent Stem cell). A key area for understanding such stunning-phenomenon of life should be centered on the genome as it serves as the center for genetic information, and for enhancing our understanding of how genetic information can be integrated with life-sustaining chemical transformations (i.e., metabolism can be integrated to develop a life system as a coordinate-molecular machine).

 

However, to be able to comprehend such cell life system is extremely complex, and thus, we have not been able to grasp the existence of a governing principle under such an autonomous life system (as an emergent property of life).

 

Recently, as one step forward, our lab has elucidated a basic fundamental principle of how genome expression (whole gene-expression) can be self-organized to achieve cell-fate decision such as in cancer cell differentiation and reprogramming of mammalian (human and mouse) embryo cells. Furthermore, based on this principle as a universal feature, we can determine when and how these cell-fates occur at both population and single cell levels.



Goal

Scientists believe that the coming integrated biomedical technology combining those of iPS cell and genome editing (such as CRISPER-CAS9) will break through medical research on human clinical application such as cancers and incurable diseases, human tissue and organ generation engineering.



The Seiko Life Science Laboratory's Goal

is to provide a fundamental understanding of the genomic mechanism of cell-fate change through spatio-temporal self-organization of the genome, and then to support the development of breakthrough biomedical technologies.


Methods

Biostatistics, Biophysics, RNA Sequencing, Epigenomics, Cancer, Cell Signaling, Microarray, Functional Genomics, Self-Organization, Nonlinear Analysis, Chromosome Conformation Capture, Non-Equilibrium Physics, Complex Systems Biology, Somatic Cell Reprogramming