- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
2 US scientists win Nobel chemistry prize
Scientists suspected that cells had some type of receptor for hormones and other substances, but they couldn’t find any.
Lefkowitz managed to reveal receptors, such as one for adrenaline, and started to understand how that one works.
Kobilka, working with Lefkowitz, found the gene that tells the body how to make the adrenaline receptor, and it soon became clear that there was a whole family of receptors that look alike _ a family that is now called G-protein-coupled receptors.
Since then, scientists have built up detailed knowledge about how those receptors work and how they are regulated. The two prize winners “have been at the forefront of this entire scientific journey,” the Nobel committee said.
Kobilka moved on to Stanford after the gene discovery, and just last year he and his team there captured an image of a receptor at the moment it transferred the signal from a hormone to the interior of the cell. The academy called that “a molecular masterpiece.”
Awarding the Nobel to Lefkowitz and Kobilka is “a fantastic decision,” said Roger Sunahara, who studies how hormones activate the receptors at the University of Michigan. With detailed knowledge about the receptors, scientists can better understand how drugs work, which in turn helps them improve current medications and look for new ones, he said.
Drugs such as beta blockers, antihistamines and various psychiatric medicines have been around for some time, but before Lefkowitz and Kobilka’s discoveries, their interaction with the human body wasn’t fully understood, said Sven Lidin, chairman of the prize committee.
“All we knew was that they worked, but we didn’t know why,” Lidin said.
Mark Downs, chief executive of Britain’s Society of Biology, said the critical role receptors play is now taken for granted.
“This groundbreaking work spanning genetics and biochemistry has laid the basis for much of our understanding of modern pharmacology as well as how cells in different parts of living organisms can react differently to external stimulation, such as light and smell, or the internal systems which control our bodies such as hormones,” Downs said in a statement.
The U.S. has dominated the Nobel chemistry prize in recent years, with American scientists being included among the winners of 17 of the past 20 awards.
This year’s Nobel announcements started Monday with the medicine prize going to John Gurdon of Britain and Japan’s Shinya Yamanaka for their work on reprogramming cells. Frenchman Serge Haroche and American David Wineland won the physics prize Tuesday for work on quantum particles.
The Nobel Prizes were established in the will of 19th-century Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. The awards are always handed out on Dec. 10, the anniversary of Nobel’s death in 1896.
Karl Ritter reported from Stockholm. AP writers Louise Nordstrom in Stockholm, Amanda Kwan in Phoenix, Jack Jones in Columbia, South Carolina, and Danica Kirka in London contributed to this report.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- Inside China: Ukraine gets nuke umbrella
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- North Korean dictator stuns world with uncle's execution
- CHELLANEY: China's game of chicken
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- Inside the Ring: China targets Global Hawk drone
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow