[Plant molecules]Function and regulation of plant molecules

Strategic Objective

Design of plant-derived molecules building up the foundation for plant synthetic biology

Research supervisor


Kazuhiko Nishitani (Professor, Faculty of Science, Kanagawa University)


 This research area aims to achieve a comprehensive understanding of plants, focusing on plant molecules (plant-derived compounds and related genes), and to develop innovative technologies utilizing them. For these purposes, research will involve investigating the function and regulation of plant molecules at both the molecular interaction and ecological levels, and developing key technologies for exploration, identification, design and control of plant molecules. In addition to the conventional methods used in molecular biology, cell biology, ecology and plant pathology, etc., multidisciplinary approaches are encouraged to employ various research tools such as recently advanced analytical technologies and comparative genomics empowered by bioinformatics, synthetic biology and organic chemistry. Diverse plants such as agricultural crops, medPlants are indispensable to human life, as sources of food, pharmaceuticals and raw materials for industrial products. Considering that each of the approximately 300,000 plant species produces a vast variety of compounds, only a small portion has been used and a large number of potentially useful compounds remain to be uncovered. Accordingly, in this research area, we will focus on molecules produced by plants and also molecules acting on plants, and elucidate their function and regulatory mechanisms in plants, aiming to create a scientific basis for their utilization. One of the most important points in the promotion of this research area is to understand the biological significance that led to the acquisition of a wide variety of compounds and their biosynthetic systems during the evolution through environmental changes and interactions with various organisms including predators, pathogens and even symbionts. We expect to create new concepts and key technologies to utilize plant molecules through ambitious and highly innovative research. To achieve this goal, multidisciplinary research is encouraged. For this reason, we also welcome researchers specializing in the fields of organic chemistry, analytical science, data science or information science who are trying to pioneer a unique approach to elucidate the function and regulation of plant molecules.

Research Area Advisors

Masanori Arita Professor, National Institute of Genetics, Research Organization of Information and Systems
Motomu Endo Professor, Division of Biological Science, Nara Institute of Science and Technology
Eiichiro Ono Research Specialist, Research Institute, Suntory Global Innovation Center Ltd.
Yoshitaka Takano Professor, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University
Junji Takabayashi Professor Emeritus, Center for Ecological Research, Kyoto University
Shinya Hagihara Team Leader, Center for Sustainable Resource Science, RIKEN
Kenji Matsui Professor, Graduate School of Sciences and Technology for Innovation, Yamaguchi University
Toshiya Muranaka Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University
Miyo T. Morita Professor, National Institute for Basic Biology, National Institute of Natural Sciences
Mami Yamazaki Professor, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chiba University

Research Projects

  1. Year Started : 2020
  2. Year Started : 2021

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