The Rigakubu News

Disclaimer: machine translated by DeepL which may contain errors.

Somi Yamaguchi Receives the 13th (FY2022) JSPS Ikushi Prize

Osamu Nureki
(Professor, Department of Biological Sciences)

We would like to congratulate Ms. Somi Yamaguchi, Department of Biological Sciences, for winning the 13th JSPS Ikushi Prize.

Mr. Somi Yamaguchi

The title of her research is "Structure-function analysis of RNA silencing-related factors in Drosophila. The enzyme Dicer produces double-stranded small RNA, an intermediate of small RNA. This RNA intermediate is passed to a protein called Argonaute, which plays a central role in RNA silencing, via Dicer and its partner proteins. RNA silencing is a conserved regulatory mechanism for gene expression in eukaryotes and has attracted attention as an important biological phenomenon. However, how Dicer and its partner proteins pass double-stranded small RNAs to Argonaute has remained unclear for 20 years.

Yamaguchi determined the steric structure of the Drosophila Dicer enzyme Dicer-2, its partner protein R2D2, and the double-stranded small RNA complex using cryo-EM. Biochemical analysis by themselves revealed that R2D2 exposes the weak end of the double-stranded small RNA double helix to the solvent and loads it into Argonaute in a single direction. This research solves a previously unsolved problem in the field of RNA silencing and has greatly advanced research in this area.

This award is in recognition of Dr. Yamaguchi's research achievements during her doctoral course at the graduate school. Congratulations!

Faculty of Science News, March 2023