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SHOSAKU NUMA 7 February 1929—15 February 1992 Elected For. Mem. R.S. 1986 By Hiroo Imura Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-01, Japan Professor SHOSAKU NUMA, who was a pioneer of molecular neurobiology, died on 15 February 1992, after a nearly three-year struggle with colon cancer and its metastases. His demise has caused a great void not only in Kyoto University where he worked for a long time, but also in the field of molecular biology.
Shosaku 313 leucine- enkephalin, that was named preproenkephalin A. At that time, the presence of other types of opioid peptides, such as dynorphin and a-neo-endorphin, was already known. Therefore, his group tried to clone the precursor of dynorphin from porcine brain with considerable difficulties because of the low abundance of mRNA for the precursor. In 1982 they succeeded in cloning and demonstrated that the precursor molecule, called preproenkephalin B or preprodynorphin, contains dynorphin, a-neo-endorphin, and a previously unknown bioactive peptide, rimorphin/leumorphin. Although there was considerable competition in cloning these precursor molecules, Numa’s group succeeded in rapid succession in the cloning, continuing to draw the attention of the world’s investigators in this field.