Major research fields
Lipid Bilayer Biophysics, Skin Stratum Corneum Structure
A boundary is the place where somethings happen. In our body this boundary is the biomembrane. Our inside meets the unpredictably-fluctuating outer environments across the biomembrane, which must inevitably be an intelligent interface. At the foundation of the intelligent biomembrane lies the bilayer constructed from two sheets of lipid molecules. The lipid bilayers are of interest to a broad spectrum of researchers because of their multi-faceted characteristics. For physicists the lipid bilayer is an interesting material for the phase behavior analysis of a two-dimensional macromolecular assembly that is capable of assuming a vast variety of shapes, e.g. a spherical vesicle, a tubular meshwork, a flat sheet and a cubic bicontinuous structure known as a ‘plumber's nightmare'. Moreover, the lipid bilayer membrane contains domains having special structures and roles. All these shapes and domains are formed spontaneously according to thermodynamical rules. We are trying to make clear the molecular organization and intermolecular interaction in these structures so as to understand how they are constructed and what is the key factor to control their formation. Our present targets are the intercellular lipid membrane layers in the skin stratum corneum and the functional microdomain called the ‘lipid raft'. We believe that greater insight into their structural make-up will provide the secret of their biological meaning.
Major relevant publications
- T. Miyoshi, M. Lönnfors, J. P. Slotte and S. Kato; A detailed analysis of partial molecular volumes in DPPC/cholesterol binary bilayers. Biochim. Biophys. Acta, 1838, (2014) 3069-3077.
- T. Imai, H. Nakazawa and S. Kato; Thermal phase transition behavior of lipid layers on a single human corneocyte cell. Chem. Phys. Lipids, 174, (2013) 24-31.
- H. Nakazawa, T. Imai, I. Hatta, S. Sakai, S. Inoue and S. Kato; Low-flux electron diffraction study for the intercellular lipid organization on a human corneocyte. Biochim. Biophys. Acta, 1828, (2013) 1424-1431.
- Y. Nakagawa, H. Nakazawa and S. Kato; Mechanism of gelation in the hydrogenated soybean lecithin (PC70)/hexadecanol/ water system. J. Colloid Interface Sci., 376, (2012) 146-151.
- M. Kinoshita, K. Ito and S. Kato; Kinetics for the subgel phase formation in DPPC/DOPC mixed bilayers. Chem. Phys. Lipids, 163, (2010) 712-719.