Later in the 20th century, great progress has been made in fields of biology and life science, particularly in research of protein structures and the functions. Since protein molecules not only construct the organism but they also act as essential factors in every function of lives, much research has been promoted in various aspects in order to understand organism architectures and maintain human health. In the 1970’s, the discovery of the way to analyze the base sequences of DNA genes made it possible to read the information of amino acid sequences of proteins written in the genes, and to synthesize artificial proteins that have special amino acid sequences. The technological progresses in genetic engineering and protein engineering have great influences on biology and life science.
Clarification of the entire genome sequences, which corresponds to the whole gene structures of many biological species, has become an international concern. The Human Genome Project, which seeks to determine the full genome structure of humans, is now been promoted with support from all over the world. Analysis of the whole base sequence is an important progress to understand the functions of an individual organism. However, what must be clarified and analyzed later on is the specific conformations and the characteristics of the proteins involved, and also, the interactions between the proteins and between the protein and other substances. Results attained by studying physiological functions and causes of diseases in protein molecules will not only contribute to a progress in life science, but also can be applied to solve medical problems and other issues, such as production of organisms and related biomaterials.
Under these situations, it was natural for a new organization to be established that offers an environment suitable for further research in the field of protein science, so that researchers are able to exchange their investigation results and information to accomplish further development. Forums on Protein Structures had been held once a year in Japan. The latest forum held in 1999 was its 50th one. At the same time, Protein Engineering Society of Japan held annual meetings with protein researchers. This organization had also contributed to promoting international exchanges in its field. Since 1998, the two academic groups had combined to have an annual joint meeting. The workshop on Principles of Protein Architecture, which had been held at the same time with the joint meeting of the above two groups, joined in as well in this year 2000.
Since many participants belonged to two or three of the groups at the same time, it should be convenient to combine the groups and rebuild one large organization. The establishment of this organization should give us the opportunity to call to researchers of other related fields to construct a new society concerning with protein science.
Thus, Protein Science Society of Japan, PSSJ, was established on April 1st, 2001 based on the three organizations of Protein Engineering Society of Japan, Forums on Protein Structures and Principles of Protein Architecture.
Although PSSJ was registered as a renamed and reconstructed form of Protein Engineering Society of Japan, which had been established as an academic group that had been formally registered in Japan Society for the Promotion of the Science, our actual purpose was to create a completely new academic group.
The field of protein science has been rapidly developing in recent years due to the influence of genome projects, and a new age is dawning in this field. PSSJ offers opportunities for young researchers to hear lectures by world-famous researchers on subjects ranging from structure to function, from new experimental methods to theoretical calculations, and from physicochemistry to physiological function of proteins through annual meetings, so that they can actively contribute in the post-genome era.