Picobiology : Life Science at the atomic level

Picobiology: Life Science at the atomic level" was selected in 2007 as one of the 13 programs in the field, "Life Science

What Is Picobiology?

All physiological processes are comprised of chemical reactions, each driven by proteins. Characteristics of protein functions are created by asymmetry inside the functional center of the protein. The asymmetry is formed by various functional groups of amino acids and cofactors fixed in the functional center. Therefore, in order to understand the mechanism of physiological processes, analyses of a physiological process at the whole-body or cellular level is first initiated, and then followed by identification and isolation of the key proteins. The isolated proteins are characterized by various biochemical and molecular biological techniques and crystallized for X-ray structural determination which is a prerequisite for structural analyses at the picometer level with vibrational spectrosccopy. The mechanism of each protein function, deduced from these experimental results, improves the understanding of the mechanism of the physiological process. The field of Picobiology may be defined as an aim to understand the mechanism of physiological processes by performing the picometer-level structural analyses to characterize the location and states of individual atoms of the functional centers that drive the physiological processes.
In Picobiology, studies ranging from the whole-body level to the biochemical and molecular biological level analyses are categorized as cellular biology. The remaining investigations are categorized as structural biology. Since these researches differ greatly in technique, the research is usually carried out by different groups. Nonetheless, these researches should be carried out in parallel, dealing with the problems reciprocally. Also, when carrying out the research at whole body and cellular levels, the fact that all physiological processes are comprised of chemical reactions, each driven by proteins should not be neglected and high-resolution structure analysis research should also be aimed at clarifying the function of proteins in the living cell. Therefore, for the promotion of picobiology, cooperation between gstructural biology researchers who understand cell biologyh and gcell biology researchers who understand structural biologyh is essential.