Centers & Labs

RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies

Supramolecular Structural Biology Team

Team Leader: Shun-ichi Sekine (Ph.D.)
Shun-ichi  Sekine(Ph.D.)

We plan to conduct structural biology studies to unravel action mechanisms of cellular macromolecular systems comprising DNAs, RNAs, and proteins, typified by various complexes of RNA polymerases bound with nucleic acids and transcription factors. To this end, we will develop a technology platform for the supramolecular structure analysis, with novel methods for the preparation of biologically significant macromolecular complexes consisting of a number of large components and for the structure analysis by taking advantage of SPring-8/SACLA and other spectroscopic methods.

Related Research Fields


Research Subjects

  • Structural basis of transcription and its regulation
  • Development of advanced technologies for the structural analyses of supramolecular complexes
  • Structural basis of bacterial and viral replication/transcription toward drug discovery

Selected Publications

  1. Sekine, S., Murayama, Y., Svetlov, V., Nudler, E. and Yokoyama, S.:
    "The ratcheted and ratchetable structural states of RNA polymerase underlie multiple transcriptional functions"
    Mol Cell. 57, 408-421. 2015.
  2. Antonopoulos, I.H., Murayama, Y., Warner, B.A., Sekine, S., Yokoyama, S. and Carey, P.R.:
    "Time-resolved Raman and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis observations of nucleotide incorporation and misincorporation in RNA within a bacterial RNA polymerase crystal"
    Biochemistry 54, 652-665. 2015.
  3. Higo, T., Suka, N., Ehara, H., Wakamori, M., Sato, S., Maeda, H., Sekine, S., Umehara, T., Yokoyama, S.:
    "Development of a hexahistidine-3×FLAG-tandem affinity purification method for endogenous protein complexes in Pichia pastoris"
    J. Struct. Funct. Genomics. 15, 191-199. 2014.
  4. Naganuma, M., Sekine, S., Chong, Y.E., Guo, M., Yang, X.L., Gamper, H., Hou, Y.M., Schimmel, P. and Yokoyama, S.:
    "The selective tRNA aminoacylation mechanism based on a single G•U pair"
    Nature 510, 507-511. 2014.
  5. Tagami, S., Sekine, S., Minakhin, L., Esyunina, D., Akasaka, R., Shirouzu, M., Kulbachinskiy, A., Severinov, K. and Yokoyama, S.:
    "Structural basis for promoter specificity switching of RNA polymerase by a phage factor"
    Genes Dev. 28, 521-531. 2014.
  6. Itoh, Y., Bröcker, M.J., Sekine, S., Hammond, G., Suetsugu, S., Söll, D. and Yokoyama, S.:
    "The decameric SelA tRNASec ring structure reveals the mechanism of bacterial selenocysteine formation."
    Science. 340, 75-78. 2013.
  7. Murayama, Y., Sekine, S. and Yokoyama, S.:
    "Crystallization and preliminary X-ray crystallographic analyses of Thermus thermophilus backtracked RNA polymerase"
    Acta Cryst. F69, 174-177. 2013.
  8. Sekine, S., Tagami, S. and Yokoyama, S.:
    "Structural basis of transcription by bacterial and eukaryotic RNA polymerases"
    Curr. Opin. Struct. Biol., 22, 110-118. 2012.

Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Shun-ichi Sekine
Team Leader

Core Members

Hideaki Shimizu
Research Scientist
Tamami Uejima
Research Scientist
Yuko Murayama
Research Scientist
Haruhiko Ehara
Research Scientist

Contact information

1-7-22 Suehiro-cho, Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 230-0045, Japan
Tel: +81-(0)45-503-9204 (ext 3212)

Email: shunichi.sekine [at]

Related links

Recent research results