Our current research has two main foci:
- Elucidation of molecular mechanisms of cold sensing and cold signaling (see Figure)
ICE1 (Inducer of CBF/DREB1 expression 1) is a transcription factor that controls cold-regulated genes and cold tolerance in plants. However, it is not known how ICE1 is regulated and how cold stress is perceived. To elucidate these molecular mechanisms, we have isolated several proteins interacting with ICE1, including MYC transcription factors, kinases, and calcium-binding proteins. We have been characterizing these proteins in relation to cold signaling and how they regulate ICE1. And now we try to identify a cold sensor. According to our results, a calcium channel is a candidate. Functional mechanisms of a calcium channel as a sensor are to be elucidated.
- Production of allergens from plant tissues
Sublingual desensitization has been attracting attention as a definitive therapy for pollen allergy. However, extraordinary amounts of labor are currently required to extract the allergens used for this purpose. The aim of this study is to produce allergens and extract large quantities of them by using lettuces or tomatoes. (Collaboration with Dr. Emiko Noguchi, Faculty of Medicine)