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Department of Life Science and Biotechnology

Realizing a healthy, active, aged society and creating a sustainable society

A society in which people live a long life in good health and at ease, and a sustainable society with reduced environmental load is desired. We are contributing to life innovation by developing new technologies to evaluate health and to promote drug discovery, as well as to maintain, improve, and recover health according to individual conditions. We are also contributing to green innovation by developing technologies to reduce environmental loads using bioprocesses.

 
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New Research Results

A mutual cooperation mechanism whereby symbiotic bacteria make pest insects resistant to insecticides

AIST researchers elucidated the insecticide resistance mechanism through interaction between pest insects and gut symbiotic bacteria in collaboration with Hokkaido University and Akita Prefectural University, and with the cooperation of the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO).
The mechanism of gut symbiotic bacteria involvement in the insecticide resistance of pest insects is not known. AIST worked with other institutions to investigate how the gut symbiotic bacteria of the pest insect stinkbugs detoxify insecticides and identified a symbiont gene essential for the detoxification. Symbiotic bacteria use this gene to quickly degrade insecticides that have entered the pest insect's body. It was found that the insecticide degradation product is highly toxic to the symbiotic bacteria, but this substance is non-toxic to the host pest insect, and the pest insect quickly excretes it out of its body. As a result, the symbiotic bacteria can detoxify insecticides and continue to live in the body of the pest insect. This research discovered that pest insects and symbiotic bacteria intimately interact in the insecticide detoxification process.

Figure of new research results Life Science and Biotechnology

Relationship between insects and symbiotic bacteria related to insecticide detoxification

Discovery of Host Protein Essential for Maternal Transmission of Symbiotic Bacteria from Mother to Her Nymphs

Researchers in AIST analyzed the contents of the symbiont capsules produced by adult females of the plataspid stinkbug Megacopta punctatissima and identified a novel secretion protein as the major protein component of the capsules. This protein was shown to protect fragile essential symbiotic bacteria from the harsh condition outside the host and ensure the maternal transmission of the bacteria to the next generation. It was also found that capsule production shortened the female’s lifespan. This indicates mother stinkbugs produce the symbiont capsules to their offspring “at the expense of their own survival.”
This is a new discovery identifying the host factor essential for symbiosis with microorganisms and leading to the elucidation of the molecular mechanism underling the maintenance of symbiosis. This discovery will give a great insight how symbioses with microorganisms shape the evolution of dependencies between generations of hosts.

Figure of new research results Life Science and Biotechnology

Dorsal (left) and ventral (right) sides of Megacopta. punctatissimum laying eggs. The brown pellets deposited between the eggs are symbiont capsules.

Research Unit

Open Innovation Laboratory

Since FY 2016, as a part of the “Open Innovation Arena concept” promoted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), AIST has created the concept of “open innovation laboratories” (OILs), collaborative research bases located on university campuses, and has been engaged in their provision. We are planning to establish more than ten OILs by FY 2020.

AIST will merge the basic research carried out at universities, etc. with AISTʼs goal-oriented basic research and applied technology development, and will promote bridging research and evelopment and industry by the establishment of OILs.

  • AIST-Waseda University Computational Bio Big-Data Open Innovation Laboratory (CBBD-OIL)
  • AIST-Osaka University Advanced Photonics and Biosensing Open Innovation Laboratory (PhotoBIO-OIL)

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