Genes to Cells 表紙ギャラリー

Genes to Cellsオリジナルグッズ



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In recent years, sirtuin family genes have attracted attention because it has been reported that their activation extended lifespan in some animal species and yeast. Sirtuin family consists of several classes, and the majority of them encode NAD+-dependent deacetylase. The arrow in this picture is called 'hamaya,' which is one of Japanese New Year's good luck charms. It is decorated with two 'ema's (wooden votive plaques) likened five-membered ring of ribose with drawings of a crane and a turtle, common symbols of longevity in Japan. The arrow as a whole is mimicking the structure of NAD+, which is required for sirtuin's deacetylase activity.
A woman is dispensing reagents using a motorized pipettor. She is in a stylish kimono (hogusome) with a pattern like letters written with a brush. The text on her kimono is not only for fashion but also actually the recipe for the reagents (NaCl, glucose, amino acids, acetic acid, etc.); that is exactly to kill two birds with one stone. It will help her do experiments precisely at the busy end of the year.
女性が、電動ピペッターを用いて試薬を分注している。彼女が着ているのは、筆文字のような粋な柄(反古染(ほぐそめ))の着物。着物に書かれている文字は、単におしゃれのためではなく、実は試薬のレシピ(NaCl, グルコース, アミノ酸, 酢酸など)にもなっており、まさに一石二鳥だ。師走の慌ただしい中の実験も、これで大丈夫。
It is known that an increase of cytosolic concentration of calcium ion (Ca2+) like a wave is initiated from the point of sperm entry and propagates throughout the egg after fertilization in many animal species. This calcium wave is caused by a kind of chain reaction; activated phospholipase C (PLC) produces inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate (IP3) that induces release of Ca2+ from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) near the egg surface, and released Ca2+ induces further release of Ca2+ from nearby ER. The leaves on the round-shape mountain are turning red like a wave coming down from the top of the mountain as if mimicking the calcium wave.
Site-specific DNA recombination technologies such as FLP-FRP and Cre-lox systems have been applied to various purposes including mosaic analysis or conditional knockout. We applied the mechanism to pruning a pine tree. When we gave a signal to the pine tree, a branch was circularized and was cut automatically at the specific site marked with the darker green pine needles.
Soba (buckwheat, Fagopyrum esculentum) is a pseudocereal with rich aroma and flavor, which is mainly eaten as noodles after Edo era in Japan. Yet there still remain many problems to overcome: its lower yield than the wheat or rice mainly caused by heteromorphic self-incompatibility (SI), its allergenic property that sometimes causes severe allergic reactions, and so on. Also, SI has been preventing us from producing good cultivars using genetic approaches. Finally, the buckwheat's whole genome has just been sequenced with next-generation sequencing (NGS), and it shows us a solution for those problems. We may have low-allergenic soba noodles in the foreseeable future.
ソバ(Fagopyrum esculentum)は豊かな香味を有する重要な擬似穀類であり、日本では江戸時代以降、主に麺として食されている。しかし、主に異形花型自家不和合性(SI)のために小麦や米に比べ収穫量が少ないことや、時に重篤なアレルギー反応を引き起こす問題など、改善すべき点が残っている。またSIのために、遺伝学的アプローチによる品種改良には困難が伴う。最近、そのソバの全ゲノムが次世代シーケンシング(NGS)により解読され、それらの問題の解決の糸口が見えてきた。そう遠くない将来、低アレルゲン性の蕎麦を食べられるようになるかもしれない。
An infant and his mother are playing with a small fish in a tub. The tub has a knothole from which water is pouring out, so the infant is carefully holding the small fish not to let it out from the hole. In the plasma membrane in various species, from bacteria to higher eukaryotes, there are such water channels called aquaporins that selectively allow water molecules to traverse the membrane. The schematized secondary and tertiary structures of the aquaporin's monomer are drawn on his mother's kimono and sash, respectively. And, aquaporins form tetramers to function in the plasma membrane just like the pattern drawn on the infant's kimono.
Naruto Strait, a strait between Shikoku and Awaji-shima Island, is famous for the huge Naruto-no-uzushio (Naruto whirlpools) that is generated by Japan's fastest current of sea water caused by the tide. It is thanks to the function of our inner ears that we can hear the roaring sound from and feel the acceleration of the rotation of the whirlpools. We saw an illusion of the structure of the inner ear (the semicircular canals, vestibule and cochlea) in a huge whirlpool that shook us by the inner ears.
Among phenotypes, quantitative traits are usually caused by many chromosomal loci (quantitative trait locus, QOL) in a complex manner, and researches using dogs have been fruitful. A number of dog breeds have been produced by human beings. The morphological character is highly variable among breeds, but uniformed within the same breed. Genome-wide association studies that coupled craniometric data obtained from various dog breeds have been conducted, and QTLs in which SNPs that might affect the skull shape existed concentratively were identified. One of the QTLs was mapped near BMP3 gene on Ch. 32, and it was shown that most breeds with shortened head had a common missense mutation in BMP3. Data on the background: Figure 3 of Schoenebeck et al. (2012) PLoS Genet. 8, e1002849 (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1002849). Upper panel: SNP distribution around BMP3 locus among various dog breeds. Lower panel: Plots of important SNPs (conserved, exonic, etc.) extracted from the upper panel.
生物が示す形質のうち、量的形質には染色体上の多数の座位(量的形質座位、QTL)が複雑に関与していることが多いが、イヌを用いた研究が成果を上げている。人間の手により数多くのイヌの品種が作出されてきた。イヌの形態的特徴には大きな品種間差異がある一方で、品種内では均質である。さまざまな品種の頭骨の形状を測定した結果を加味したゲノムワイド相関解析が行われ、頭骨の形状に影響すると推定されるSNPが集中しているQTLが同定されている。そのひとつは第32番染色体上のBMP3(bone morphogenetic protein 3)遺伝子付近にマップされ、短頭犬種の多くがBMP3のミスセンス変異を共通して持つことが示されている。背景のデータ出典:Figure 3 of Schoenebeck et al. (PLoS Genet. 8, e1002849 (2012). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1002849)。上段:BMP3遺伝子周辺のさまざまな犬種のSNP分布、下段:上段のSNPのうち、よく保存されている・BMP3のエキソン内に存在するなど、重要なものを抽出し図示したもの。
Flow cytometry is a technology that allows high throughput analysis of the characteristics of cell populations by optically and rapidly measuring the morphological characteristics and fluorescent signals of the cells suspended in a narrow stream of fluid in equipment (flow cytometer). In addition, the equipment with a cell sorter can collect a certain type of cells from a heterogeneous population by charging droplets containing such cells identified by the optical data and attracting them by an electrostatic deflector. In this post town in this drawing, 'Positive' inn on the right and 'Negative' inn on the left are finding and attracting potential customers from passersby. They just look like a cell sorter. There is seen above them a cluster of clouds that resembles flow cytometric data.
Kiyomizu-dera temple in Kyoto is famous for its 12-meter high Butai ('stage'). In Edo era, there was a popular superstition that if one survived a jump from the Butai, one's wish would come true. In this drawing, one woman holding an umbrella as a parachute has jumped from the Butai over the fully blossomed cherry trees. In the Drosophila wing imaginal discs drawn on her kimono, the spatial expression patterns of genes involved in pattern formation can be discerned. May the Drosophila wing imaginal discs differentiate into wings before she crashes to the ground. Drosophila adults have gathered from nowhere as if they escorted her in a cherry blossom snowstorm.
Spring, that is the season of arousal for many living creatures. Even among mammals, some squirrels, bears and bats hibernate. This woman is researching hibernation of an individual of the Siberian chipmunk. The body temperature of hibernating chipmunk firstly drops to near ambient temperature, and reciprocally repeats the state of less than 10 °C (sustained hibernation) and the state of almost 37 °C (inter-bout arousal) like the chart on this drawing. We hope that life science will shed light on the mechanisms of various environmental adaptations of life. We thank Dr. Yoshifumi Yamaguchi (Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo) for his valuable suggestions for our drawing. Inspired by Figure 1 in Epperson & Martin (2002) Physiol. Genomics 10, 93-102.
In the most popular type of next-generation DNA sequencer, DNA fragments are PCR-amplified in the slide's channel coated by a lawn of PCR primers to form myriads of clone DNA clusters. After that, the DNA sequence of each cluster is determined by taking photographs of fluorescent signals on the slide with the image sensor again and again after each single-nucleotide extension step of a novel dye-terminator method. Thus, the reaction proceeding in the next-generation sequencer is massively parallel sequencing. In this drawing, we schematically expressed this mechanism with a flying hawk (image sensor) viewing clusters of pine trees (DNA) on the channel-shaped reclaimed land divided by embankments.
現在最もよく普及しているタイプの次世代シーケンサーでは、スライドガラス上のPCRプライマーのローンに覆われたチャンネルの中でDNA断片をPCR増幅させ、無数のクローンDNAのクラスターを形成させる。次いで、新規のダイターミネーター法で1塩基伸長するごとにスライドガラスの蛍光像をイメージセンサーで撮影することを繰り返すことで、それぞれのクラスターのDNA配列が決定される。すなわち次世代シーケンサーの中で起きている反応は、massively parallel sequencingである。この画ではそのしくみを、チャンネルのような土手と土手で囲まれた広い溝状の造成地にクラスター状に生える松(DNA)を眺めながら空を舞う鷹(イメージセンサー)の様子として模式的に表現した。
Worship the first sunrise of the new year from two rocks ‘Meoto-iwa’ (the wedded rocks, Mie, Japan) under double-helical DNA-like contrails in the sky. From left to right, there is the big rock, the sacred straw rope, the smaller rock, and the multi-exposed chain of suns. They just look like an RNA polymerase transcribing DNA into mRNA, its resultant mRNA, a ribosome translating the mRNA, and the new polypeptide chain growing upward from the ribosome, respectively.
Researchers in a lab at the very last moment on the night before a scientific meeting they are supposed to give their presentation. One is elated that her poster has been already done, while the other three are obviously fretting. The two people in the front are preparing for oral presentations. One on the left front is rehearsing with his slideshow, and the other is still revising her manuscript. Most of all, one on the left back is still collecting data for her slides, yet. Do not leave anything behind you, and good luck on your presentation tomorrow! Inspired by Figures 1(A) and 4(E) in Öst et al. (2014) Cell 159, 1352-1364.
学会前夜の研究室で、ぎりぎりまで発表準備に追われている研究者たち。ポスターの印刷が終わっている者は余裕の表情だが、まだ準備中の三人には焦りの色がありありと見える。手前の二人は口頭発表の準備中。そのうち一人はスライドショーを前に発表練習をしているが、もう一方はまだ発表原稿を直しているところだ。左奥のメンバーに至っては、まだスライドのデータを集めている。皆さん、お忘れ物はないか、出発前に確認を。屏風の柄はÖst et al. (2014) Cell 159, 1352-1364のFig. 1(A)とFig. 4(E)より着想を得た。
The normal white (w+) gene in Drosophila is required for production of red pigment in the eyes. In some mutants in which the w+ gene has been moved to a region near the centrosomal heterochromatin due to an inversion in the X chromosome, the eyes are mottled with red and white patches; the w+ gene in the white cells has been silenced due to spreading heterochromatin, while w+ gene in the red cells is active. This phenomenon is called PEV (position-effect variegation), and a number of factors that control epigenetics, such as histone methyltransferases, have been identified by measuring the extent of variegation. Now, in this sliding screen, maple leaves in autumn were drawn with Japanese ink on gold foil background except some in the central oval with a red paint as an accent. A shadow that looks like Drosophila happened to be cast on it, emerging a figure of the w mutant with a mottled eye.
ショウジョウバエの正常なwhite遺伝子(w+)は眼の赤い色素の合成に必要である。w+遺伝子がX染色体に生じた逆位によってセントロメア近傍のヘテロクロマチン領域の近くに移動している変異株では、眼が赤白のまだら模様になる。w+がヘテロクロマチン化されてサイレンシングされている白い細胞とw+が発現している赤い細胞が生じるからである。この現象は斑入り位置効果(position effect variegation, PEV)と呼ばれ、まだらの程度を指標にしてエピジェネティクスに関与する因子が多数同定された。さてこの襖絵は、金箔の上に秋の紅葉が墨で描かれ、中央付近の楕円の領域の紅葉のみ鮮やかな赤で描かれている。そこに偶然、ショウジョウバエのような影が映った。すると、まだら模様の眼を持つそのw変異株の姿が浮かび上がった。
Kappa, a mischievous monster found in Japanese folklore, supposedly lives in a stream or pond, and has webbed hands and feet so that it's good at swimming. Human hands also have an interdigital web in the early embryo, but it disappears by apoptotic programmed cell death like a tadpole's tail. The intracellular signaling pathway that triggers apoptosis has been studied well; the signal flows down the 'cascade' that consists of multiple caspases (Cysteine-ASPartic proteASE) such as caspase 9 or 3 encoded by CASP9 or CASP3, respectively. This poor Kappa in this drawing has been saturated with the water flowing down the caspase cascade, and its vaunted web is in danger of disappearing by apoptosis.
河童は日本の民話に登場する悪戯好きの妖怪で、川や池に棲み、水かきのついた手足を持っているので泳ぎが得意とされる。人間の手にも初期胚の段階では水かきがあるが、オタマジャクシの尾部と同様に、アポトーシスによるプログラム細胞死により消失する。アポトーシスを引き起こす細胞内シグナル伝達経路はよく研究されており、caspase 9やcaspase 3 (それぞれCASP9遺伝子とCASP3遺伝子にコードされている)といった複数のカスパーゼ(Cysteine-ASPartic proteASEの略)からなる「カスケード」をシグナルは流れ下る。哀れにもこの画の河童は、カスパーゼカスケードを流れ下る水を浴びてしまい、自慢の水かきがアポトーシスで消失しそうになっている。
Shoki (Zhong Kui in Chinese), derived from Chinese Taoism, is a god for warding off diseases. According to a legend, one night when Emperor Genso (Xuanzong) of the Tang Dynasty had a high fever, Shoki appeared to him in a dream, killed a monster, and saved the Emperor at last. In tribute to the legend, Shoki has been worshipped as a god who protects people from illness for hundreds of years in China and Japan. The role of Shoki in the legend is that of the immune system itself. In this drawing, Shoki holds a sasumata (spear fork) with an IgG-like spearhead in the right hand and wears a cloth with a crest of IgM and a pattern of a dendritic cell; they are weapons of mammalian adaptive immunity. In contrast, his left hand contains a monster (pathogen) by melanization, which is one of the weapons of the innate immunity of insects. We thank Prof. Hirotaka Kanuka's lab (The Jikei University School of Medicine) for their valuable suggestions for our drawing.
鍾馗(中国語でZhong Kui)は中国の道教由来の病除けの神である。ある伝承によると、高熱に苦しむ唐の玄宗皇帝の夢枕で鍾馗は鬼を退治し、皇帝を病から救ったという。その伝承にちなみ、鍾馗は病から身を守ってくれる魔除けの神として、中国や日本で何百年にわたり信仰されてきた。この伝承の中での鍾馗の役割は、まさに免疫系の役割そのものである。この画の鍾馗は、右手で先端にIgGを使った刺又を構えており、身にまとう衣装にはIgMの紋と樹状細胞の模様が描かれているが、これらは哺乳類の獲得免疫の武器である。一方、左手では、昆虫の自然免疫の武器であるメラニン化により、鬼(病原体)を封じ込めている。作画に当たり有益な助言をいただいた慈恵医科大学の嘉糠洋陸研究室に感謝申し上げる。
Transposons (transposable elements), discovered in maize by Barbara McClintock in 1948, are DNA sequences that can change their positions within the genome. Transposition of transposons can introduce mutations in the host genome. Actually, there was a close and astonishing relationship between transposons and the culture of the Edo era. In late Edo, a large number of mutant Asagaos (Japanese morning glory) were isolated, and it became popular to cultivate them; in fact, many mutations were caused by transposons. These mutant Asagaos have been collected by researchers and are currently maintained by a group led mainly by Kyushu University. See the website of National BioResource Project (NBRP) “Asagao” ( for further details.
トランスポゾン(転移因子)はゲノム内で位置を変えるDNA配列で、1948年にバーバラ・マクリントックによりトウモロコシで発見された。トランスポゾンの転移はホストゲノムに突然変異を引き起こすことがある。実はトランスポゾンと江戸時代の文化には深い、驚くべき関係があった。江戸時代後期、様々な変異型アサガオが単離され、その栽培が流行したが、実は多くの変異の原因はトランスポゾンだったのである。これらの変異型アサガオは研究者により収集され、現在では九州大学を中心としたグループにより維持されている。詳しくは、ナショナルバイオリソースプロジェクト「アサガオ」のWebサイト を参照。
One of the highlights of the month of July in Japan is Tanabata (Star Festival). Tanabata, a festival to pray to the stars in the Milky Way in summer, was imported from ancient China. People in Edo era started to decorate bamboo branches with ‘tanzaku’ (small pieces of paper) on which they wrote their wishes, and to pray the wishes would come true. The bamboo branches in this drawing are likened to histone tails (H2A, H2B, H4 and H3 from the left). The tanzakus represent epigenetic modifications (acetylation, methylation and phosphorylation) of amino acid residues in histone tails. If you use this histone bamboo, mind that you have to phrase your wishes with the types, positions and combinations of decorations (or modifications). You need a textbook to perform modifications correctly.
7月の日本の見どころは七夕(星祭り)である。七夕は、古代中国が起源の、夏の天の川の星々に祈りを捧げる祭りである。日本では江戸時代から、人々は七夕に、笹の枝に願いを書いた短冊(紙の小片)を飾り、願いが叶うことを祈るようになった。この画の笹の枝はヒストンテール(左から順にH2A, H2B, H4, H3)を模している。短冊はヒストンテールのアミノ酸残基へのエピジェネティックな修飾(アセチル化、メチル化、リン酸化)を表している。もしこのヒストンの笹を使うなら、願い事の内容は、飾り(すなわち修飾)の種類と位置、および修飾の組み合わせで表現せねばならないので注意が必要だ。正しく修飾をするには、教本が欠かせない。
It was in 1936 when the existence of ‘florigen’ was initially predicted as a plant hormone that transmits information on daylight length at their leaves to the tip of the stem and stimulates flower initiation. In 2007, it was finally identified as a protein, which is coded by the FT gene in Arabidopsis thaliana. FT protein is produced in the leaves and transmitted to the growing tip at the shoot apical meristem via the phloem, and interacts with a transcription factor (the product of the FD gene in Arabidopsis) to induce genes involved in flower initiation. In this drawing, an actor performing FT is contacting another actor performing FD, and trying to stimulate flower initiation with him in front of hydrangea flowers that represent the month of June in Japan.
There is a Japanese legend of an extraordinary strong child ‘Kintaro’, who caught a carp, taller than himself, only with his arms. Carp are familiar to people all over Japan as Koinobori (carp streamer) that is put up in May for their children's healthy growth. In this drawing, Kintaro is showing his extraordinary grip that acts as an external force to drive cellular convergent extension (a process in which a tissue is elongated along a certain axis by cell intercalation in animal development) to elongate the carp's body. The progression status of the convergent extension can be observed by the pattern of the carp's colored scales.
Genome editing technologies have been invented and improved in recent years, and there is a growing expectation that the technologies can be utilized as a tool not only for molecular biological studies, but also for genetic therapies. Among them, CRISPR-Cas9 system that was originally found as a part of the bacterial adaptive immune system gets noticed for its easy introduction. Here, users are only required to design a guide RNA with a 20-nt sequence that is complementary to the target DNA sequence and co-express Cas9 with the RNA in vivo, then Cas9 protein will cleave the target DNA in site-specific manner. This is a portrait of a kabuki actor who plays Cas9 as indicated by the crest “ku” (‘nine’) on kimono he is wearing. The “actor” definitely has a promising future ahead of him.
The fragrance of Japanese plum blossoms is the essence of early spring in Japan. This well-kept plum garden has a unique feature that it is a copy of a landscape of the outer side of animal plasma membrane. The ground represents hydrophilic head domains of the lipid molecules, while the trimmed trunks and branches in the front and the garden stones in the back look like glycosylated membrane proteins. There are a lot of plum trees that look like glycans far off in the distance. A mound on the ground under a basket and a pond in the back express lipid raft (a microdomain that has a different lipid composition) and endocytosis in process, respectively.
An atmospheric ghost light that is called Kitsunebi ('fox light') is described in Japanese folklore. The most famous one is the one in the Oji Inari shrine (Kita-ku, Tokyo). Every New Year's Eve in the old lunar calendar, foxes from all of the Kanto area, all suited up, gather to this shrine, light Kitsunebi under a big tree, and then stand in line. In this drawing, while the line of Kitsunebi in a standard single color is ahead of the rest, the rest of the foxes gathering under the tree are holding up 'new generation Kitsunebi' in various colors and about to join the line. This scene is reminiscent of the green fluorescent protein (GFP; here are three spatial structure models) genetically engineered so as to be available in different emission peaks.
Some dioecious plants determine sex by sex chromosomes (XY or ZW) like mammals or birds. A pair of birds on branches of a pine tree, which is a symbol of a new year in Japan, is a couple of Eclectus parrots (Eclectus roratus) having extreme sexual dimorphism (left: ZZ male; right: ZW female). What they hold in their beaks are flowers of 'Suiba' (common sorrel or Rumex acetosa; left: XY1Y2 male; right: XX female). Suiba is one of the first species among the seed plants whose existence of sex chromosomes was reported (H. Kimura & T. Ono (1923) Bot. Mag. (Tokyo) 37(438), 147-149. DOI: 10.15281/jplantres1887.37.438_147). It is known that Suiba's sex determination system is similar to that of Drosophila and depends on the ratio of X chromosomes to autosomes.
雌雄異体の植物には、哺乳類や鳥類のように性染色体(XYまたはZW)により性決定をしているものがある。日本の新年の象徴のひとつである松の枝に止まっているのは、雌雄で大きく見かけの異なるオオハナインコのつがい(左:ZZ オス; 右:ZW メス)である。彼らが咥えているのはスイバの花である(左:XY1Y2 オス; 右:XX メス)。スイバは種子植物の中では最も早くに性染色体の存在が報告されたもののひとつであり(木原均と小野知夫、1923年)、X染色体と常染色体の比により性決定がなされることが知られている。
Genpaku Sugita (1733-1817) is well-known for his translation of 'Kaitai Shinsho' (New Text on Anatomy, in 1774) compiled based on a book of anatomy written in Dutch. This Japanese first full-blown translation from a Western language contributed to the development of medical science in Japan. The masterpiece has been accomplished while many translated terms such as "shinkei" (= nerve) were coined. Over the past 240 years since then, anatomical methods have dramatically improved. Various optical clearing agents have been invented to clear organs including the brain without difficulty. Now, those agents can make brains transparent without damaging any of the fine structures, and enable researchers to observe neurons deep inside the brain. With our great respect to Genpaku Sugita, let us give him components of the optical clearing agents: urea, detergents and aminoalcohol. Behind him stands a vase of a soapberry tree bearing fruit that used to be raw material for detergents in Edo era.
ニューロンの 雨中も続く 水迷路
An experimental procedure in behavioral neuroscience known as the Morris water maze is a method to assess the animals' ability of spatial learning and memory. In the experiment, test animals are placed in a pool filled with a pool of clouded water where they are supposed to swim, and scientists record the process how the animals find an invisible platform under the water. In this picture, two scientists are recording behavior of mice in an experiment using the Morris water maze. It rains reminding us of dendrites of neurons. One woman puts up an umbrella over the other to prevent the recorder from being wet.
This wooden stand called "Marudai" is used for braiding a Kumihimo, a decorative belt used for tying on a kimono sash. This particular Marudai has the top surface engraved with a part of the codon table in order to translate nucleotide sequences of genes into the pattern of Kumihimo (polypeptide chain). The Marudai and bobbins actually play the role of ribosomes and tRNAs that synthesize proteins by translating mRNA sequences into amino acid sequences. The color of threads had changed depending on amino acids. The pattern of Kumihimo being braided in this drawing was obtained from the sequence of human insulin. Nothing can be as cool as gene sequences, which design the pattern of brilliantly colored Kumihimo.
FoF1 ATPase (also known as ATP synthase) exists in mitochondrial inner membranes and bacterial plasma membranes to synthesize ATP (adenosine triphosphate) by using electrochemical gradient of protons (H+) between inside and outside of the membranes. Fo is integrated in the membranes and thought to have a rotor ring that rotates horizontally. F1 has a dome-like structure comprised of three α and three β subunits that are alternately arranged, which is anchored to the membranes to prevent rotation. Shaft-like γ subunit connects the center of the rotor ring of Fo and F1. As protons flow down the gradient across the membranes through Fo, the rotor ring of Fo and γ rotate, and the spin force of γ against αβ complex is used to synthesize ATP molecules. In this drawing, a waterwheel (Fo) is rotated by the gradient of water (represents proton gradient), and series of three coins (which represent ATP) are generated from the 'apparatus' (αβ of F1), which is made from six boards being attached to the front side of the waterwheel. A man in the back takes a role to transport protons to the outside of membranes to produce proton gradient.
FoF1 ATP合成酵素は、ミトコンドリア内膜や細菌の細胞膜にあまねく存在し、膜内外のプロトン(H+)の電気化学的勾配を利用し、ATPを合成する。Foは膜の中に埋め込まれており、水平に回転する回転子を持っていると考えられている。F1は3つずつのαサブユニットとβサブユニットが交互に並んだ円形ドーム状の構造を持つが、これは膜にアンカーされ回転しない。シャフト状の1つのγサブユニットが、Fo回転子とF1の中心部を接続している。プロトンが勾配に従ってFoを通過する際にFo回転子とγが回転し、αβ複合体に対しγが回転する力でATPが合成される。この画では、水の勾配(プロトンの勾配と見立てている)で水車(Fo)が回転し、水車の手前側にある6枚の板でできた「装置」(F1のαβ)から三つ連なったコイン(ATPを想起させる)が生み出されている様子を描いている。奥の人物は膜の向こう側にプロトンを汲み出し勾配をつくる役割を担っている。
Tsushima Tenno Festival has been held every summer in Tsushima city, Aichi prefecture, Japan, for the past 500 years. One of the highlights of the festival is the evening festival called Yoi-matsuri when five boats decorated hemispherically with a lot of illuminated lanterns come down the river. The distinctive shape of the hemispherical decoration reminds us of partially formed clathrin-coated vesicles (CCV). So this summer, we dare to replace the decorations with the one which looks exactly like spherical CCV after completion. On the front side of the river, we place Y-shaped structures modeled on the LDL (low-density lipoproteins) receptor that mediates CCV's capturing LDL. The reflection of the light from the lanterns which represent CCV sparkles on the water surface of the river, and creates a fantastic summer night view.
愛知県津島市では毎年夏に、500年の伝統を誇る津島天王祭(つしまてんのうまつり)が行われる。クライマックスの一つの宵祭(よいまつり)では多数の提灯を配した半球状の装飾で飾った5艘の船が川を渡る。この半球状の装飾は、まるで形成途中のクラスリン被覆小胞を思わせる特徴的な形状である。そこで今年は思い切って、完成した球状のクラスリン被覆小胞そっくりの装飾を船に乗せてみた。手前の岸にはクラスリン被覆小胞にLDL (low-density lipoproteins)を取り込ませる働きをするLDL受容体を模したY字型の構造物を置いた。夏の夜の川面を、クラスリン被覆小胞を模した提灯飾りが彩り、いかにも幻想的である。
A scene of Yuzen Nagashi (a process of washing kimono silks) at a pontoon bridge over a river. This bridge actually illustrates the way a number of ribosomes (boats) are attached in a row along a single mRNA chain (a bridge) to translate in parallel, and then form a polysome. There is a grove, which is like a poly-A tail, extending from the bridge to the opposite bank of the river. The pieces of fabric form polypeptide chains synthesized by ribosomes with their edges trimmed in the shape of 'M' that is the abbreviation of methionine. Now, the translation processes probably have just terminated at the boats on the far end. The fabric is being folded while it is released from those boats.
広い川にかかる舟橋で友禅流し(着物のための布地を洗う工程)をしている光景。実はこの舟橋は、ひとつのmRNA鎖(橋)に多数のリボソーム(船)が連なって並行して翻訳し、ポリソームを形成している様子をかたどっている。向こう岸には、poly-A tailに似た、橋からつながっている木立が見える。布地はリボソームにより合成されたポリペプチド鎖をかたどっており、布の先端はメチオニンの略号であるMの形状になっている。奥の2艘の船からは、ちょうど翻訳が終結したのだろうか、布地が折りたたまれながら船から遊離しているのが見える。
A parade of “Kappore”, a dance with “nigaigasa” or double layer umbrellas. A decorative piece of cloth modeled after DNA wraps around each umbrella approximately 2 times to link one umbrella to the adjacent umbrellas. This seems to be a replication of the “beads-on-a-string” structure consisting of a DNA strand and nucleosome cores. Those who hold the “nigaigasa” are men representing the four families of core histones. If you look closely, you can find a towel printed “a-ce” on its tail hanging from one of the men's waist. This looks like the acetylation of a tail of one of the core histones. It has been found that the initiation of transcription is related to histone acetylation. If that is the case, this towel may be a sign to start dancing.
Two artisans are heaping up lumber in the form of layers. The process where the lumber is going to be piled up perfectly in six horizontal layers reminds us of the cerebral cortex in corticogenesis. One of the artisans below, on whose back a Chinese character ‘kan’ (‘stem’) can be seen, may play the role of the neural stem cell (radial glia cell), the source of new lumbers (newly created neurons), and extends a rope (radial glia fibers) upward so as to carry the lumber properly to the top layer. The other artisan above is considered to play a role similar to the cells that secrete reelin. The reelin is a protein that regulates correct migration and positioning of neurons.
“Yaedatami” or an eightfold straw mat is a tatami specially prepared for use in religious services. A craftsman folds “tatamiomote” or woven soft rush straws with edging of specially designed Nishijin brocade several times over so as to perfectly align patterns of creases of the folded edgings. We use the design to schematically illustrate the somitogenesis in vertebrates. As the U-shaped presomitic mesoderm moves tailward, periodic waves of gene expression form pairs of somites one after another from the anterior end. “Oshitone” or the top cushion has a mark of an embryo woven into it. If you carefully look at the edging of “oshitone”, you can find it bears the process of segmentation in Drosophila, a species which forms all of its segments simultaneously. Cooperated by Isogaki Tatami (Kyoto, Japan).
FRET (Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer), which is a phenomenon of energy transfer between two adjacent fluorescent molecules, has been applied to visualization of interaction between proteins in living cells and so on. To carry out high-efficiency FRET, not only the distance between two molecules must be very close (less than about 10 nm) but the relative orientation of two chromophores must also be optimized. One of the women in this picture carries the other with attention paid on how they are oriented to each other, and successfully lightens the plum blossoms just like FRET.
Mt. Fuji glows with the red tint of the rising sun. A bank of clouds is lying behind the mountain and presenting its characteristic appearance. There are lying clouds in shapes like, from the bottom, rough endoplasmic reticulum, smooth endoplasmic reticulum, and transport vesicles. There is seen above it a bank of clouds well-formed like a Golgi apparatus, and further above it smaller clouds like secretory vesicles. There may also be seen clouds like mitochondria. Wonder if it's just an illusion.
Wishing a prosperous new year, two horses, which carry a red and white twisted rope resembling F-actin, are galloping. This reminds us of pseudopodia that are strongly growing by the power generated from G-actin polymerization.
Following last month's issue, let's imagine what an international academic meeting was like in Edo era. No better place can be found than a Kabuki stage for the oral presentation! The presentation is full house. A presenter (probably the president of this meeting?) stands at the center of the stage, and on his left hand, the chairperson of this session is sitting on the stage. Each paper lantern hanging from the ceiling has a picture of crest imitating model organisms. There is a poster for the 36th Annual Meeting of the Molecular Biology Society of Japan (MBSJ) (3-6 December, 2013, Kobe) behind the presenter.
What if there had been an international academic meeting held in Edo era? It must be like this. This picture illustrates how successfully a poster session was being held. A student-like young man on the far left is performing a presentation on a poster titled “idenshi-kara-saibou-made” (in English, “from Genes to Cells”). Another poster on the right end is the one for the 36th Annual Meeting of the Molecular Biology Society of Japan (MBSJ) (3-6 December, 2013, Kobe). Inside the floor, in the back on the right of the picture, attendees from inside and outside the country are having a discussion over snacks.
もし江戸時代に国際学会を開催したら、こんな感じになったのではないかと想像してみた。この画は、にぎわいを見せるポスターセッションの様子である。左端の若い男性(学生だろうか?)がプレゼンテーションを行っており、そのポスターのタイトルは、ずばり「遺伝子から細胞まで(from Genes to Cells)」である。右方には、第36回日本分子生物学会年会(2013年12月3日~6日,神戸)のポスターが掲示されている。右手奥のフロアー内では、国内外の参加者がスナックをつまみながら議論している。
Protruding from each side of the mountain (represented as cells) like classical cadherin cell adhesion molecules, bridge girders are mutually bound so as to link two summits (cells). This month's cover art represents the mountain surfaces as plasma membranes, the bridge girders and trails as classical cadherins (where each of the bridge girders shows five extracellular cadherin (EC) domains and a transmembrane domain, while the trails show intracellular domains), huts along the trails as catenins, groves of trees as actin filaments, and cliffs as an intercellular space. Sealed with a word “adhesion” at lower right.
Tadataka Inou (1745-1818) was over 50 when he retired from the family business and started to learn Western astronomy. At the age of 55, he led a surveying team to travel throughout Japan islands (40,000 kilometers in total) spending 17 years, and accomplished the first Japanese actual measured map, Dai Nihon Enkai Yochi Zenzu, based on the data collected during the survey. The map created about 200 years ago was so accurate that it later amazed the western surveying teams visiting the country. This month's cover art illustrates Tadataka Inou and his team working together to accomplish a metabolic map. Inspired by Figure 2-35 in The Molecular Biology of the Cell, 5th ed. (Alberts et al. 2008).
伊能忠敬(1745-1818)は元々商人であったが、50歳を過ぎて天文学の勉強を始めた。そして55歳になった伊能忠敬が率いる測量隊は、17年をかけて日本全国を踏破し(計4万km)、そのデータをもとに日本最初の実測地図「大日本沿海輿地(よち)全図」を完成させた。約200年前に作成されたこの地図は、のちに海外からの測量隊を驚嘆させるほど高精度なものであった。本作では代謝マップの作図を成し遂げようとしている伊能忠敬とそのチームの奮闘ぶりを描いている。作画で参考とした文献:Figure 2-35 in The Molecular Biology of the Cell, 5th ed. (Alberts et al. 2008)。
All the traditional Japanese sweets replicate the development of an early embryo from the first cleavage. Each confectionery expresses, from the back, a fertilized egg undergoing the first cleavage (made from “konashi” or kneaded sweet bean paste, coated with “kudzu” starch), a 2-cell-stage embryo (“aoume” or a green plum), an 8-cell-stage embryo (modified from “kiku” or chrysanthemum), a morula (“domyoji” or a sweet pink mochi), and a tailbud (modified from “magatama” or a claw-shaped bead).  So, which one would you like to start with? Confectionery Coordination: Gion Narumiya, Kyoto, Japan.
伝統的な和菓子を用いて、卵割から初期胚の発生までを再現した。奥から順に第一卵割中の受精卵(「くず」でコーティングした「こなし」を用い創作したもの)、2細胞期(「青梅」)、8細胞期(「菊」を改変したもの)、桑実胚(「道明寺」)、尾芽胚(「勾玉」を元に創作したもの)を表現している。いかがだろうか? 和菓子製作協力:京都・祇園ナルミ屋。
相馬野馬追 モデル生物勢、いざ出陣
Soma Nomaoi, Soma horse chasing festival, which used to be a religious ceremony, is now an event held in Soso District (north-eastern part of Fukushima prefecture) every July. In ancient times, Samurais captured wild horses roaming around fields, and dedicated them to Kami. Although wild horses were extinct early in Meiji era, later, the ceremony has been revived as an event in which hundreds of horsemen scramble for holy flags. In this cover art, we let warriors on horsebacks carry flags with arms of model organisms, the strongest tools for our research, to join this event. It is Arabidopsis thaliana (right foreground) what colors the field, the stage for the festival, and streamers of double helix are fluttering in the far background.
相馬野馬追は相双地方(福島県北東部)で毎年7月に行われる祭事であり、かつては野生の馬を捕獲し神に捧げる神事であった。明治時代初期に野生馬は消滅したが、のちに旗を争奪する祭として復活を遂げた。このカバーアートの中だけではあるが、我々が研究する上での最強のツールであるモデル生物の旗印を背負う騎馬武者をこの祭事に参加させてみた。また、この祭りの舞台となる原野をシロイヌナズナ が彩っており(画面右手)、遠くに二重らせんの幟が掲げられている。
kaiA, kaiB and kaiC genes and their products constitute a core circadian oscillator in the cyanobacterium S. elongates (derived from a Japanese term “kai”, which means rotation or cycle number). KaiA stimulates autophosphorylation of KaiC, whereas KaiB promotes autodephosphorylation of KaiC. It is the particular characteristics of system of cyanobacteria that the three purified Kai proteins and ATP can reconstitute a circadian oscillation in a test tube. We overlay a diagram of this feedback loop on an armillary sphere in an Ukiyoe, which was installed at an astronomical observatory in Edo era. The pattern of roof tiles in the foreground depicts a circadian oscillation.
シアノバクテリアS. elongatusの概日周期を作り出す中心となるのがkaiA, kaiB, kaiC遺伝子とその産物である(日本語の「回」に由来)。KaiAはKaiCの自己リン酸化を助け、KaiBはKaiCの自己脱リン酸化を助ける。特に、試験管内で3種類のKaiタンパク質とATPを試験管内で混和させただけでも概日周期の波を再現できるのがシアノバクテリアのシステムの特徴である。このフィードバック・ループのダイヤグラムを、江戸時代の天文台の渾天儀(こんてんぎ)の浮世絵に重ねてみた。手前の屋根の瓦の模様で概日周期の波を表現している。
Speaking of Japanese seasonal tradition in May, you may think of carp streamers flying high over roofs of houses. People fly the carps, wishing for healthy growth of their children. This month, we have painted each scale of a carp streamer, mimicking a mechanism known as lateral inhibition. So, how would you grade the work?
This month's feature is molecular chaperones which support correct protein folding. A child represents a protein (or a polypeptide) trying to fold correctly, while a woman represents a chaperone teaching calligraphy. Pieces of paper scattered on the floor are misfolded polypeptides. In reality, accumulation of misfolded polypeptides will cause various kinds of diseases. Chaperones are essential to life.
A piece inspired by a fusion of traditional Japanese beauty and life sciences. There are a Japanese cosmetic brush and a hand mirror on a black board. An embryo fantastically reflected in the mirror suddenly reminds you of something: the brush is a very micropipette, and the embryo must be a subject of an experiment with it. How cleavage of a fertilized egg occurs is drawn like a family crest on a vanity bag, as if it indicates whom these cosmetic tools belong to. In the embryo, a lacZ marker transgene was driven by a connexin43 (Cx43) promoter in neural crest cells. Courtesy of Osamu Chisaka.
Kites are flying in the early spring in a town with the backdrop of Mt. Fuji. Being steered into the wind and skillfully manipulated via string, the kites look like metaphase chromosomes aligned on the equator of the cell.
Phages have greatly contributed to flourishing of molecular biology, and even today, they remain useful tools for scientists. In this illustration, a “hikeshi” (a firefighter in Edo) is carrying a “matoi” (a standard of his firefighter team as its symbol), which is likened to a phage. Meanwhile lanterns held by firefighters in the back look like bacteria.
当世風龍虎図屏風 其二 粘菌螺旋的龍
The cover art of this month is the second part of the series from the November issue. It describes how cellular slime molds assemble into a dragon. The cellular slime molds normally are individual of an amoeba-like unicellular organism. However, when they starve, tens of thousands of cells aggregate in one place to form a cluster. The cluster hugs the ground like a slug, searches for the right place for making spores, and forms a fluting body (lower part of the ground). When placed in starvation conditions, the cellular slime molds begin to secrete cAMP, which stimulates nearby slime molds to secrete pulses of cAMP. Once they secrete cAMP, they become inactive for a while. As the result, waves of cAMP propagate as they swing in a spiral form (upper part of the sky).
当世風龍虎図屏風 其一 豹紋的虎
The principle mechanism of skin pattern formation in vertebrates can be explained with a mathematical model proposed by Alan Turing (reaction-diffusion system, 1952). In this month's cover art, wild-type and mutant tigers are glaring to the right (at a dragon coming up in December issue). In the front of the wild-type tiger, a rock is illustrated with three peaks representing waves of activator and inhibitor that are observed in the reaction-diffusion system. Furthermore, two bamboos having four internodes represent transmembrane domains in a certain variant of connexin (a subunit of the gap junctions), which is a four-span transmembrande protein and one of the responsible genes for morphological mutation in a vertebrate.
月に雁 繊毛波打つ 秋の宵
Cilia of eukaryotic cells undulate in a well-balanced motion and play a variety of roles essential to life. The cover art for this month's issue presents movements of ciliated cells of respiratory epithelium in an analogy to Susuki glasses, a feature of autumn in Japan. The cilia beat in a given direction is defined by the direction of basal feet (red) that protrude from basal bodies (gray). In the picture, waves to the right are generating a current. There is a goblet cell that secretes mucus, slightly right of the center on the near side of the picture. The moon and geese are also arranged in the picture so as to evoke another feature of autumn in Japan.
The theme of this month is “translation”. The information in DNA is first transcribed into mRNA, which is further converted into a chain of amino acids. This conversion process is called translation and a stop codon marks the end of translation in each mRNA molecule. In the illustration, a fictitious translator on completion of his translation seals the letter with a Chinese character “stop” and amber (which is a nickname for UAG, one of the stop codons). The face of the seal depicts letters of “translation”.
今月の表紙のテーマは「翻訳」である。DNAの情報は一度メッセンジャーRNA (mRNA)へ転写される。さらにmRNAはコドンという3塩基ずつの単位でアミノ酸の配列へと変換され、結果としてアミノ酸が連なったタンパク質が合成される。この変換の過程が翻訳である。翻訳を終える目印もコドンであり、終止コドンと呼ばれる。この画像では、架空の『翻訳家』が「止」(stop)の文字と琥珀(終止コドンの1つであるUAGの愛称が琥珀(amber))の位置で、自らが為すべきことを終えたと認め押印した様子を描画している。落款の印面には「翻訳」の文字がデザインされている。
Coloring the summer night sky of Japan, this firework has a theme of the half spindle of animal mitotic cells. A centrosome containing a pair of centrioles is located in the center, and astral microtubules extend to the up to the left, while polar microtubules extend to the opposite direction. Japanese technology currently produces cutting-edge fireworks, and it should not be difficult to produce such fireworks in reality.
This cover depicts The Bridge in the NGS Rain where people are being exposed to torrents of genomic information, that is, fruits of next generation sequencing. The man standing in the middle of the bridge is pictured deep in thought, considering how to utilize this sequence data set of the ALDH2 gene. Another man, shown to the right with a sake bottle, is eager to know whether he is genetically predisposed with a high tolerance for alcohol or not.
The Epigenetic landscape, which was firstly depicted by C. H. Waddington in 1950's, has often been used to illustrate cellular differentiation in the process of biological development. Presented on our cover is a timeless representation of the landscape where we see worshippers of Mt. Fuji are being reprogrammed on the slope. Some are climbing high to acquire pluripotency, while others are traversing the foot, and being directly reprogrammed.
エピジェネティック・ランドスケープは、C. H. Waddingtonにより1950年代に提唱された、発生における分化に対する比喩である。我々も富士山におけるエピジェネティック・ランドスケープの図を伝統的なタッチで描いてみた。山頂に向って登る参詣者は、未分化状態に戻って多能性を獲得する細胞を連想させる。また、裾野を横へ行く参詣者は、未分化状態に戻らないダイレクト・リプログラミングのさなかの細胞を表現している。
Regulated cell adhesion and cellular motility underlies dynamic cell rearrangement, which is essential for morphogenesis of various organs. We expressed this process using a picture of a stone levee along a canal.
Branched waterfalls are reminiscent of the cell lineage of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans from a zygote to a newly hatched larva.
枝分かれする滝の情景で、線虫Caenorhabditis elegansの受精卵から幼虫に至る細胞系譜が表現されている。
A woman with a hanagasa (a traditional hat decorated with ornamental flowers) is performing a Japanese classical dance. The ornaments on the hat actually are gap junctions, and some of them are opened and allowing small molecules to pass through.
A fisherman on a cliff is pulling nets as if synchronizing circadian rhythms with the help of light shining down from the sky.
Set against the backdrop of Mt. Fuji, a skilled craftsman is fixing a broken wooden barrel by excising damaged bases and then introducing new ones. We liken this to the process of DNA repair thereby recovering hydrogen bonds between each pair of bases.
Since nerves of higher animals have myelin sheaths, an action potential is propagated rapidly (phenomenon called a saltatory conduction) like the swift wind. The wind god is likened to an action potential that conduct bounces to be propagated.
The Thunder God is generating the action potential, which is not lightning, in a neural network. The illustration is paired with that of December Issue.
Harvest time. Toreutics on a guard of a Japanese sword has a design of ears of rice and a butterfly landing on them. No, they actually are DNA winding around nucleosome.
A huge and prestigious shrine that looks like Izumo-Taisha shrine at a glance. White zigzag paper streamers like a leucine zipper-type transcription factor are tucked in a giant sacred rope (dextrorotatory double-helix). The paper streamers probably bind to specific sequences of dsDNA expressed as a sacred rope.
Being inspired by the similarity in the appearance, KOKESHIs are portrayed as metaphase chromosomes, which pair KOKESHIs. It deserves attention that each pair of KOKESHI is designed the same and tied with a thread at their necks (kinetochores) each other.
Importance of bidirectional transportation between TOHOKU and surrounding districts. The “Kaido” expressed as a stone-pave street is designed to look like microtubules. Carts going left and pulled by bulls and messengers going right are expressions of motor proteins with cargos in eukaryote cells.
A scene from a Chinese-inspired vigorous dragon dance in a festival in Kyushu, Japan. The dragon is likened to a messenger RNA (mRNA), expressing transcription with DNA template.
九州地方に伝わる中国風の躍動感あふれる龍踊りの祭りの風景より。龍をメッセンジャーRNA(mRNA)と見立て、DNAを鋳型 にして転写されている状況を描写している。
A beautiful woman of the Heian period is pulled by a dog and peeks out from behind a bamboo blind, which is likened to experimental data of DNase I footprint. Data:Akita et al. Genes to Cells 15(5) pp537-552 (2010).
DNase Iによるフットプリントの実験データを簾に見立て、平安時代の美女が犬に引かれ簾から顔をのぞかせている画を描いた。データは、Akita et al. Genes to Cells 15(5) pp537-552 (2010) より。
Grand Sumo showing a YOKOZUNA or grand champion and “hands” of supporters are pulling the horizontal rope of the kesho-mawashi. They want to tie the kesho-mawashi, but simultaneously, they are making a new horizontal rope from an older vertical rope, using Holliday junction-like structure.
A designed family emblem of cell division blends well with traditional Japanese patterns of auspicious omens motifs as pine and bamboo, on the artwork of tiered food boxes in silver lacquer.
Two sets of segregated chromatids during telophase are depicted as cats cuddled up comfortably beside spindle poles.
Overlooking Mount Fuji in the distance through the arching wooden bridge, reflected on the water surface, forming complete circles to resemble a pair of spectacles or a ‘double helix.’