The Japan Academy

About the Cover

Vol. 80 No. 5 (2004)

Vol. 80 No. 5 (2004)

NMR complexes and research buildings at RIKEN Yokohama Institute

  RIKEN Yokohama Institute is located about 20 km south of central Tokyo in Tsurumi-ward, Yokohama. The Institute composed of four centers, the Genomic Science Center, the Plant Science Center, the SNP Research Center, the Research Center for Allergy and Immunology. Two NMR complexes occupy a part of this campus. In the far-left side of the picture the domed buildings resembling Mongolian yurts in shape were completed in April, 2000 as the 1st phase of construction, and the doughnut-shaped building to the front-left side of the picture was completed in October, 2004 as the 2nd phase of construction. The latter building is about 63 meters in diameter and eight meters high. In both buildings there is a total of 38 NMR machines (400~900 MHz). *1) This is the biggest NMR complexes in the world. The machines are used to analyze the three-dimensional structures and functions of proteins. Using these machines, the National “Protein 3000 Project”*2) on Protein Structural Functional Analysis is vigorously moving forward.

*1) NMR is a phenomenon whereby a nucleus having magnetic moment resonates when it is given an appropriate wave frequency in a magnetic field. The intensity of the magnetic field of an NMR machine is defined as the wave frequency of hydrogen nuclei. The machine with a magnetic intensity of 14.1 tesla is called a 600 MHz NMR machine.

*2) A Japanese national project that aims to study both the structures and functions of proteins in selected biological systems. RIKEN Yokohama Institute has now been integrated into the project as the center of the program for comprehensive studies in collaboration with RIKEN Harima Institute at SPring-8.

Kumao Toyoshima, M. J. A., and the Director of the SNP Research Center.