Masaki Tsujimura (M2), Department of Applied Chemistry, received President’s Award for Students
Masaki Tsujimura (M2), Department of Applied Chemistry, received President’s Award for Students.
President’s Award for Students
This award is conferred to a student who won academic achievements, and thus serve as a role model for other students.
About awarded research
"Insights into the light-driven ion-transport mechanism in microbial rhodopsins"
Microbial rhodopsins are membrane proteins that have a retinal Schiff base as a chromophore and are involved in light-dependent biological functions in microorganisms. Ion-transporting rhodopsins are utilized as tools for controlling the neural activity (optogenetics). Using theoretical approaches such as a quantum mechanical/molecular mechanical approach and molecular dynamics simulations, the light-driven ion-transport mechanism in microbial rhodopsins is investigated. The functions of microbial rhodopsins are directly associated with the absorption wavelengths, as both of these are predominantly determined by the three residues near the chromophore. The desolvation of the chromophore…carboxylate ion pair is the driving force of the proton transfer from the Schiff base toward the carboxylate. A mutant protein that can absorb effectively at a red-shifted wavelength was successfully generated based on theoretical calculations.
Your impression & future plan
I am very honored to receive the award. I appreciate Professor Hiroshi Ishikita, Associate Professor Keisuke Saito, Associate Professor Hiroyuki Tamura, Research Associate Tomoyasu Noji, and everyone in the laboratory for many discussions. I would like to study harder to contribute to the understanding on the molecular mechanisms of microbial rhodopsins.