Organisms maintain their lives in the presence of constant interactions with their environments. Most of the environmental factors trigger redox disturbances leading to altered function of biomolecules, which is supposed to results in pathological conditions due to aging. Our main question is what is aging and how we age. Our hypothesis is that impaired environmental response and subsequent smoldering inflammation are one of the important drivers of organismal aging processes. In order to prove this hypothesis, we are focusing on the KEAP1-NRF2 system, which plays a major role in our oxidative stress response, and its related factors. An ultimate goal of our research is achievement of healthy aging.
The KEAP1-NRF2 system is a sulfur-employing defense mechanism; KEAP1 is a sulfur-based redox sensor, and NRF2 is a sulfur-regulating effector. Current projects in our lab are as follows.
(1) Identifying the transcriptional regulatory mechanisms used by the redox-responsive transcription factor NRF2.
(2) Exploring the molecular mechanisms of organismal aging induced by redox imbalance.
(3) Understanding the molecular mechanisms of the response to exercise and its anti-aging effects.
(4) Exploring the role of sulfur metabolism and cancer malignancy driven by NRF2.
(5) Exploring the regulatory mechanisms of mitochondrial function and energy metabolism controlled by NRF2.