Using high-speed atomic force microscopy (high-speed AFM) and super-resolution in-liquid AFM, we are studying the structure and dynamics of biomolecules. Unlike conventional methods, high-speed AFM allows simultaneous recording of the structure and dynamics of functioning molecules at high spatiotemporal resolution, and hence, makes it possible to directly understanding how biomolecules operate. Super-resolution AFM can visualize even the secondary structures of proteins (alpha-helix and beta-sheet), and therefore, we can study the details of the structure-function relationship. The Imaging Research Division will be established in 2011 after recruiting three new
Ongoing Research: Using high-speed AFM, we are studying dynamic biomolecular processes to understand how biomolecules operate. Thus far, we have succeeded in imaging dynamic processes including walking myosin V along actin filaments and structural changes of bacteriorhodopsin in response to light illuminaion. We are further attempting to image the dynamic behaviour of
other molecules such as myosin VI, dynein, and various intrinsically disordered proteins. Using super-resolution AFM, we are studying water layer structures surrounding material surfaces and the secondary structure of proteins. When a new high-speed AFM instrument for cell imaging is established to some extent, we will also conduct AFM imaging of cells.
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