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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

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.

Ketogenic Diet Improves the skeletal muscle function and pathology of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in Model Rats

In collaboration with the University of Tokyo and Miyagi Health Innovation Co., Ltd., researchers in AIST found that the pathology of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) model rats was improved with intake of a ketogenic diet containing medium-chain triglycerides.
The research group have shown that having DMD model rats that have a similar phenotype to human DMD take a ketogenic diet improves skeletal muscle atrophy and muscle weakness. The ketogenic diet not only suppressed muscle necrosis and fibrosis in DMD model rats, but also promoted muscle satellite cells proliferation. Our observations may have broad implications for developing new therapeutic methods for DMD, clarifying the new mechanism of its pathological progression.

Figure of new research results Life Science and Biotechnology

Reduction of fibrosis and increase muscle strength in DMD model rats (9 months old) on a ketogenic diet.
In the two photographs on the left, the red areas show normal muscle fibers; the blue shows fibrotic areas. The graph on the right shows muscle strength by body weight. “*” indicates there was a significant difference (P < 0.01) when compared to normal diet. (Quoted from Fig. 5 of Citation 1 with some modifications) A ketogenic diet reduced fibrosis in DMD model rats and improved muscle weakness.
Citation 1: Fujikura, Y; Sugihara, H; Hatakeyama, M; Oishi, K; Yamanouchi, K.
Ketogenic diet with medium-chain triglycerides restores skeletal muscle function and pathology in a rat model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
FASEB J. 2021 Sep;35(9):e21861. https://doi.org/10.1096/fj.202100629R

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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