Proteins must be correctly folded and assembled to fulfill their functions as assigned by genetic code. Unfolding or misfolding of proteins constitutes a fundamental threat to all living cells. In eukaryotes, proteins can be unfolded or misfolded in a variety of subcellular compartments, but the risk of protein misfolding is particularly acute in the endoplasmic reticulum, in which newly synthesized secretory and transmembrane proteins attain their proper tertiary structure. With their pioneering work on an intracellular signaling pathway called the 'Unfolded Protein Response', Dr. Mori, together with Dr. Walter, has elucidated the molecular mechanisms by which cells adjust their capacity for protein folding and quality control according to need. Their work provides answers to the fundamental question of how cells maintain a proper abundance of organelles and has far reaching implications for our understanding of the development of specialized cell types and various diseases, including protein folding disorders, diabetes, heart diseases, atherosclerosis and cancer.
Dr. Kazutoshi Mori is a professor at the Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University since 2003. He graduated from the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyoto University. He was Instructor at Gifu Pharmaceutical University from 1985 to 1989, and then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas from 1989 to 1993 (under supervision from Drs. Mary-Jane Gething and Joe Sambrook). He was Deputy Research Manager from 1993 to 1996 and Research Manager from 1996 to 1999 at the HSP Research Institute in Kyoto (directed by Dr. Takashi Yura). He was Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Biostudies, Kyoto University from 1999 to 2003.