Japan Science and Technology Agency held an international symposium entitled "Protein Structure and Functional Mechanisms" at the Cairns Convention Centre in Australia from June 22 to 26 as part of international strengthening and support activities.
It took place as a session co-hosted by JST and CREST at the international conference, namely the 2nd Pacific-Rim International Conference on Protein Science (PRICPS)/the 4th Asian and Oceania Human Proteome Organization (AOHUPO), which was co-hosted by the protein societies of Pacific Rim countries that included the Australasian Proteomics Society (APS), Protein Society (US), Lorne Conference on Protein Structure and Function (LPC) and the Protein Science Society of Japan.
The JST/CREST symposium consisted of keynote speeches that were given by two prominent protein scientists from abroad, invitational speeches mainly given by representatives of the CREST research project "Protein Structure and Functional Mechanisms," general speeches and poster sessions. More than 300 people attended the symposium.
As the keynote speech of the symposium Professor Randy Read from the University of Cambridge talked about the current status and future prospects of the development of high-order structural analysis software based on the latest X-ray crystallography methods that are essential in the structural analysis of protein, and in particular the molecular replacement method, entitled "New Structures from Old: Developments in Molecular Replacement." Doctor Ad Bax from NIH also talked about the current status and future prospects of the functional analysis of protein and high-order structural analysis of high-molecular-weight protein by NMR under the title of "Insight into Structure and Dynamics from Weak Alignment NMR."
In the invitational speeches representing Japan (JST/CREST), Doctor Yuji Sasaki (SPring-8), Doctor Masashi Suzuki (AIST) and Professor Akihito Yamaguchi (Osaka Univ.), presented some results of CREST research entitled "Dynamical Single Molecular Observations of Membrane Proteins Using X-rays," "Discrimination between DNA Sequences and between Coregulator Amino Acids by Feast/Famine Regulatory Proteins (FFRPs)" and "Structure and Mechanism of the Tripartite Multidrug Exporter," respectively. From abroad Doctor Young-Ho Jeon of the Korea Basic Science Institute talked about the functional and structural analysis of apoptosis-related protein by NMR under the title of "Solution Structure of Mst1 SARAH Domain and Its Interaction with Rassf5 and WW45 SARAH Domains for the Apoptosis Pathway."
In the general speeches representing Japan Professor Osamu Nureki (Univ. Tokyo) and Professor Junichi Takagi (Osaka Univ.) presented their research results under the title of "Gating Control; Mechanism of Magnesium Transporter MgtE" and "Development of a Novel Peptide Affinity Tag System for One-Step Purification of Recombinant Proteins," respectively. From abroad Professor Stephen White (Univ. California) presented his research results under the title of "Translocon-Assisted Folding of Membrane Proteins: New Insights into Lipid-Protein Interactions."
Many researchers, inclusive of those from JST/CREST, participated in the poster sessions with very active question-and-answer sessions taking place during each presentation. It is worthy of special mention that Dr. Suguru Koyama (The Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science), a Sorimachi team researcher, received the poster prize.
The two keynote speeches given as part of the JST/CREST symposium, in which the prominent scientists of the two major methods of protein analysis, X-ray crystallography and NMR, talked about the current status and future direction of the analysis, offered valuable insights and very much left an impression on the audience. The three invitational speeches given by the representatives of the CREST research project "Protein Structure and Functional Mechanisms" were singularly unique in their development of the methods, research materials and results achieved, and were highly distinctive with a lot of impact. The speech given by Doctor Jeon provided some protein research done in Korea, with the audience being highly impressed with the rapid progress made in protein science research in East Asia. The three general speeches were all highly original. Moreover, the poster sessions were of very high quality, with the number of sessions also proving more than adequate. It was felt then that this symposium had very much made a substantial contribution to PRICPS.
This international conference was truly an international conference in which protein scientists from all over Europe, the US and other countries participated. That said however, the general recognition was that the JST/CREST research project "Protein Structure and Functional Mechanisms" had made steady progress and achieved many research results that were attracting international attention.
And through the presentation on the research results of JST/CREST at this international conference we were also able to emphasize the presence of Japan in this research field while gaining understanding and a response to the support system provided for in national policy. Furthermore, great expectations could be sensed for the activities of JST.