Research on Non-standard peptide synthesis and selection in Tokyo

Shaopeiwen Luo

First, I want to thank to the UTRIP committee, for choosing me as a participant to the summer research at University of Tokyo, and Ito Foundation U.S.A. and Friends of UTokyo, Inc., for selecting me as a FUTI scholar and providing me with financial support.

During my summer internship, I studied at professor Hiroaki Suga’s lab for synthesizing and selecting non-standard cyclized peptides that specifically bind to one kind of protein called TAB2.

Current tentative drugs are not effective or modifiable enough which might cause excessive risk of unpredictable immunological response. Consequently, I was researching on making alternative drugs for better control. Because cyclized peptides were small enough and of good use of drug, I selected those to one kind of protein called TAB2 and tentatively produce drug that dealt with diseases related to the TAB2. To make the selection works, I learnt how to charge tRNA with noncanonical amino acids and then made cyclized peptides using flexizyme, a modified ribosome, and how to do selection using RaPID selection process and FIT system. The techniques I learnt could also allow synthesis of diverse, natural-product like, macrocyclic compounds other than TAB2 I worked on and facilitate further clinical therapeutics.

With the help of my supervisor Dr. Toby, I achieved my goal of learning how scientists limited materials and derived plans for drug discovery. I applied my interests of drug discovery using chemistry technologies combined with biology basis, familiarized myself with lab work about biochemically studying pharmaceutical science. I also made sure that I really enjoyed researching on drug discovery in my future career life.

Outside of the lab, I exposed myself to Japanese culture. With UTRIP crews, I saw the amazing temples and botanical garden in Nikko, experienced wearing yukata and tried tea ceremony. I also explored Tokyo city, Mountain Hakone and Yokohama on weekends: wearing yukata and going to the Natsu omatsuri with friends; losing myself in the modern art museum; try making noodles in Yokohama. Like the fireworks in Natsu omatsuri, my research experience and life in Tokyo was gorgeous and unforgettable.

Finally, I want to again make special thanks to UTokyo staff and UTRIP committee for selecting me as a participant to this amazing trip, Professor Suga’s lab for providing me with opportunities to get in touch with frontier science, and Ito Foundation U.S.A. as well as Friends of Tokyo. Inc for selecting me as a FUTI scholar.