Kunio Hirata

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Channelrhodopsins (ChRs) are light-gated cation channels derived from algae that have shown experimental utility in optogenetics; for example, neurons expressing ChRs can be optically controlled with high temporal precision within systems as complex as freely moving mammals. Although ChRs have been broadly applied to neuroscience research, little is known(More)
Photosynthesis converts light energy into biologically useful chemical energy vital to life on Earth. The initial reaction of photosynthesis takes place in photosystem II (PSII), a 700-kilodalton homodimeric membrane protein complex that catalyses photo-oxidation of water into dioxygen through an S-state cycle of the oxygen evolving complex (OEC). The(More)
Although the membrane fusion of spermatozoon and egg cells is the central event of fertilization, the underlying molecular mechanism remains virtually unknown. Gene disruption studies have showed that IZUMO1 on spermatozoon and CD9 on oocyte are essential transmembrane proteins in sperm-egg fusion. In this study, we dissected IZUMO1 protein to determine the(More)
The major facilitator superfamily glucose transporters, exemplified by human GLUT1-4, have been central to the study of solute transport. Using lipidic cubic phase crystallization and microfocus X-ray diffraction, we determined the structure of human GLUT3 in complex with D-glucose at 1.5 Å resolution in an outward-occluded conformation. The high-resolution(More)
Ca(2+)/cation antiporters catalyze the exchange of Ca(2+) with various cations across biological membranes to regulate cytosolic calcium levels. The recently reported structure of a prokaryotic Na(+)/Ca(2+) exchanger (NCX_Mj) revealed its overall architecture in an outward-facing state. Here, we report the crystal structure of a H(+)/Ca(2+) exchanger from(More)
The improvement of salt-sensitive hypertension is a therapeutic target for various vascular diseases. Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), an incretin peptide, has been reported to have natriuretic effect as well as blood glucose lowering effect, although its exact mechanism and clinical usefulness remain unclear. Here, we examined anti-hypertensive effect of(More)
Adiponectin stimulation of its receptors, AdipoR1 and AdipoR2, increases the activities of 5' AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR), respectively, thereby contributing to healthy longevity as key anti-diabetic molecules. AdipoR1 and AdipoR2 were predicted to contain seven transmembrane helices with the(More)
Cytochrome c oxidase transfers electrons and protons for dioxygen reduction coupled with proton pumping. These electron and proton transfers are tightly coupled with each other for the effective energy transduction by various unknown mechanisms. Here, we report a coupling mechanism by a histidine (His-503) at the entrance of a proton transfer pathway to the(More)
Newly synthesized membrane proteins must be accurately inserted into the membrane, folded and assembled for proper functioning. The protein YidC inserts its substrates into the membrane, thereby facilitating membrane protein assembly in bacteria; the homologous proteins Oxa1 and Alb3 have the same function in mitochondria and chloroplasts, respectively. In(More)
The fully oxidized form of cytochrome c oxidase, immediately after complete oxidation of the fully reduced form, pumps protons upon each of the initial 2 single-electron reduction steps, whereas protons are not pumped during single-electron reduction of the fully oxidized "as-isolated" form (the fully oxidized form without any reduction/oxidation treatment)(More)