Simple to Complex: Cell-free Synthetic Biology and Evolution

1) 生物を構成する部品を組み合わせ、特定の機能に特化した無細胞分子システムを創り
2) 無細胞分子システムを用いてタンパク質あるいは分子システム自体を進化させる

Our group aims to
1) combine the components of living organisms to create molecular systems with specific functions,
2) use molecular systems to evolve proteins or molecular systems themselves
In this way, we will elucidate the nature of primitive cells that would have existed in the early stages of life, and simultaneously construct molecules and molecular systems that will contribute to practical applications.


・ わずか20分で自らのコピーをほとんど間違えることなく正確に作り出すことができる
・ 温度変化、栄養源の変化など様々な環境変化に適応することができる
・ 人工的には作ることが難しい複雑な化合物を作り出すことができる


次に、変異と選択を繰り返す進化というプロセスを用い無細胞分子システムを高度化してゆきます。生命の進化の多くは千年、万年の時間スケールで進行したと考えられています。一方で、タンパク質や核酸分子を対象とした場合、それよりも、かなり短い時間(1日〜数年)で実験室で人工進化を実現できることが示されています(定方向進化、directed evolutionと呼ばれています)。我々のグループでは、定方向進化の原理を無細胞分子システムの進化に適用し、システムの進化という現象を目の前でつぶさに観察し、これを理解することを目指しています。加えて、実用化に資する分子や分子システムを創り出すことで人類の発展に貢献したいと考えています。

Even one of a simple living organism, E. coli, is made up of more than tens of millions of parts. Inside, there are more than hundreds of millions of chemical reactions going on at the same time. Despite this high degree of complexity, it can produce exact copies of itself in as little as 20 minutes with little to no mistakes, it can adapt to a variety of environmental changes such as temperature changes, changes in nutrient sources, and so on, and it can produce complex compounds that are difficult to make artificially. How did these amazing properties come about? We believe the answer lies in evolution. All life on earth is a product of evolution. So if we can recreate evolution in the laboratory, we may be able to understand part of how life came to be, which is the origin of life. In addition, by using the power of evolution in the laboratory, we may be able to create molecules and molecular systems that are useful for practical applications.

Rather than assuming that living things came into being suddenly, it is more likely that simple creatures (objects?) It is more plausible to think that this process gradually increased in sophistication and complexity from We are attempting to replicate this process in the laboratory. In other words, we first assemble the cellular components (molecules) that make up an organism to create a molecular system specialized for a specific function. This molecular system is an assembly of molecules consisting of cellular components, but without cells. Therefore, we call this molecular system a cell-free molecular system.

Next, we use a process of repeated mutation and selection to advance the cell-free molecular system. Most of the evolution of life is thought to have proceeded on a time scale of 1,000 to 10,000 years. On the other hand, it has been shown that artificial evolution can be achieved in the laboratory in a much shorter period of time (from one day to several years) than that for proteins and nucleic acid molecules (called directed evolution). Our group applies the principle of directed evolution to the evolution of cell-free molecular systems and aims to observe and understand the phenomenon of system evolution in detail. In addition, we would like to contribute to the development of humanity by creating molecules and molecular systems that contribute to practical applications.



Artificial cell assembly and its application(人工細胞の構築とその応用)


In vitro directed evolution of membrane proteins(膜タンパク質の進化分子工学)


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