Aim of this project

Recent dramatic change of our life style has been accompanied by the high incidence of diseases caused by excess lipids (such as atherosclerosis and heart disease) or the lack of specific lipids (such as autism and schizophrenia). Although lipids are well-known as essential components of cell membranes, our understanding of the roles of complex lipid organization is limited. The aim of this study is to understand the distribution, dynamics and function of lipids via interdisciplinary approaches through biochemistry, biophysics, organic synthesis, surface science, molecular science and simulation, and develop novel diagnostic, curative and preventing methods for the treatment and prevention from lipid disorders.

Fig.1 Fig.1 When did we start current life style?
Fig.2 Fig.2 Cell Membranes are Essential for Life

Difficulty of studying lipids

Unlike proteins, lipids are not the primary product of nucleic acids. In addition, the water-insoluble, yet amphiphilic nature of lipids adds an additional layer of complexity to these experiments. Because of these specific properties and shear number of lipid species, lipid research is lagging behind the research of proteins and nucleic acids. However, recent advances of mass spectrometry and microscope techniques enabled the study of metabolism, distribution and dynamics of individual lipid.

Fig.3 Fig.3 Lipid Dynamiics Project (2008-13)
Fig.4 Fig.4 Endosome-specific lipid, BMP
Fig.5 Fig.5 Three Sub Projects
Fig.6 Fig.6 Key Points

Research system


1 Advanced Lipidomics
photo: Masanori AritaCenter for Sustainable Resource Science
Metabolome Informatics Research Team
Team Leader: Masanori Arita (D.Sci.)
lipid characterization
bio-, histo-and physico-chemical
2 Molecular Protein Lipidology
photo: Yasushi SakoCellular Informatics Laboratory
Chief Scientist: Yasushi Sako (D.Sci.)
lipid interaction
3 Dynamic Lipid Physiology
Yoshio Hirabayashi (Ph.D.)Brain Science Institute, Laboratory for Molecular Membrane Neuroscience
Laboratory Head: Yoshio Hirabayashi (Ph.D.)
lipid function
metabolic and neuronal diseases




  • image of Single cell mass spectrometry Single cell mass spectrometry - Kazuki Saito (Ph.D.)
  • image of Comprehensive lipid analysisComprehensive lipid analysis - Kazuki Saito (Ph.D.)
  • image of Visualizing lipid moleculesVisualizing lipid molecules - Toshihide Kobayashi (Ph.D.)
  • image of Microstructure of the interfaceMicrostructure of the interface - Tahei Tahara (D.Sci.)
  • image of Single-molecule analysisSingle-molecule analysis - Yasushi Sako (D.Sci.)
  • image of Analysis of membrane proteinAnalysis of membrane protein - Shiro Yoshitsugu (D.Eng.)
  • image of SimulationSimulation - Yuji Sugita (D.Sci.)

Research strategy


Fig.6 Fig.6 Research Strategy (1)
Fig.7 Fig.7 Research Strategy (2)