I. Iron-Sulfur Clusters in NO Signaling
Nitric oxide (NO) is an important signaling molecule that is involved in cell-cell communication, blood pressure regulation, neurotransmission, and antimicrobial activity, as well as pathologic effects such as DNA damage. Over the past ten years, several iron-sulfur containing regulatory proteins have been identified as the targets of NO, where gene transcription can be initiated upon reactions with NO. However, at present, little is known about how this modification occurs and what the modified products are. Using small synthetic molecules, we will elucidate the relevant chemistry of [Fe-S] clusters with NO in order to better understand a central dogma of [Fe-S] mediated NO signaling.
II. Carbon Dioxide Reduction
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an excellent source of carbon and nature has ways to use it very wisely, e.g., production of glucose from CO2 by plants. However, an increased amount of CO2 can act as a harmful green house gas, much of which is constantly produced in urban countries, causing serious environmental problems. Inspired by metalloenzymes' structures and functions in dealing with CO2, we are developing biomimetic catalysts, i.e., synthetic compounds which can mimic the functions of enzymes, which can convert CO2 to useful forms of fuels such as methane and methanol.