Chugai Seiyaku Kabushiki Kaisha and Kenji Sobue were awarded US Patent 7,279,558, “Genes associated with the maintenance of differentiation of smooth muscle cells.”
Inventors listed on the patent are Toshio Ota, Takao Isogai, Tetsuo Nishikawa, Koji Hayashi, Kaoru Otsuka, Jun-Ichi Yamamoto, Shizuko Ishii, Tomoyasu Sugiyama, Ai Wakamatsu, Keiichi Nagai, Tetsuji Otsuki, Shin-Ichi Funahashi, Shoji Miyata, Kenji Sobue, and Kenichiro Hayashi.
According to the patent abstract, a cDNA fragment participating in the maintenance of smooth muscle differentiation was isolated using a culture system of chicken gizzard smooth muscle cells, the differential display method, and the subtracted hybridization method. Using the obtained cDNA sequence as a query, cDNA sequences of The Helix Research Institute were retrieved, and a novel gene was obtained. Evidence suggests that this protein binds to other proteins, and thus regulates the intracellular signal transduction, gene expression, et cetera, thereby participating in the maintenance of the differentiation of smooth muscle cells. This protein and compounds regulating the expression thereof are very useful in developing drugs for various diseases associated with abnormality in the maintenance of smooth muscle cell differentiation.