Toshio Yanagida

Osaka University

"Mechanism Involved in Utilizing Thermal Fluctuations by Muscle Molecular Motor"

Abstract: The aim of our research is to reveal the engineering principles inherent in adaptive biological systems by uncovering the unique functions of biological molecular motors. My specific interest is the molecular motors in muscle, which are considered to be standard molecular motors, having used single molecule nano-detection to study their dynamics. Here, I will explain how molecular motors do not overcome Brownian motion (thermal noise) but rather exploit it to economize their use of energy. Furthermore, our computer simulations show that a system based on stochastically fluctuating molecular motors can modulate its motion with a high degree of flexibility and adaptability, all in response to its environment. We are currently applying these results to develop artificial muscle.

Biography: Professor Toshio Yanagida joined the Department of Bionics as a member of the faculty of Engineering Science at Osaka University in 1974. Since that time, he has done research in a wide range of problems in Bionics, including conformational change in thin muscle filaments, to Brownian rotations of myosin-V, to activation mechanisms for cell motility. He is currently Professor in the Department of Bionics and Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biosignaling. He is also the director of two CREST JST projects: one on the formation of soft nano-machines and the other on applications of analytical and measurement technology in applications of life phenomena. Most recently, he has been appointed as the Vice-Director of WPI Immunology Frontier Research Center at Osaka University.