Cover Story Nobel Prize in Chemistry `09

Transcription

Cover Story Nobel Prize in Chemistry `09
CHEMCOS
January 2010
Issue V
THE CHEMICAL SOCIETY, IIT DELHI
Cover Story
Nobel Prize in Chemistry ’09
Bharti Porwal, Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.
The Nobel Prize Committee has awarded the 2009 Prize in Chemistry to Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas A. Steitz and
Ada E. Yonath for their ingenious studies of one of life´s core processes: the ribosome´s translation of DNA information into
life. The structure and functions of the ribosome at the atomic level have been elucidated by the works of these three
scientists. The three awardees employed X−ray crystallography to map the ribosome´s structure and study its complex
mechanism of action.
Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, graduated with his Ph.D. in Physics in 1976 from Ohio University,USA. He is a Senior Scientist
and Group Leader at Structural Studies Division, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK. Venkatraman focuses
on the structure and function of ribosome, the large protein RNA complex that synthesizes proteins using genetic
instructions encoded in the m−RNA template. His laboratory determined the complete structure of the 30S subunit and its
complexes with several antibiotics, initiation factor IF1 etc. These studies have shed light on antibiotic function and the
mechanism of t−RNA and m−RNA recognition and decoding by the ribosome.
Thomas A. Steitz, received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry in 1966 from Harvard University, MA, USA. He is
currently a Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, both at
Yale University, Connecticut. He works on the biological functions of macromolecules in terms of their detailed molecular
structure. Of particular interest are the molecular mechanisms by which those proteins and nucleic acids involved in the
central dogma of molecular biology achieve their biological function.
Ada E. Yonath, was born in Jerusalem, Israel and earned her Ph.D. in X−ray Crystallography in 1968 from the Weizmann
Institute of Science, Israel. She is the first Israeli woman to win a Nobel prize. Yonath is the Professor of Structural Biology
Kindly mail your suggestions/feedback at [email protected] [http://www.chemistry.iitd.ac.in/chemcos
] | Copyright © 2010 All Rights Reserved
CHEMCOS
January 2010
Issue V
THE CHEMICAL SOCIETY, IIT DELHI
and Director of Helen & Milton A. Kimmelman Center for Biomolecular Structure & Assembly, both at Weizmann Institute of
Science, Rehovot, Israel. She pioneered in ribosomal crystallography and focused on the mechanisms underlying protein
biosynthesis. Yonath also introduced a new technique for enabling ribosomal crystallography namely, cryo bio
crystallography, which has been adopted by various research groups in structural biology thereafter.
The three scientists have generated 3D models that show how different antibiotics bind to the ribosome. These models are
now used by scientists to develop new antibiotics. Their work will help produce antibiotics that are not resistant to bacteria
as it has become resistant to many of the drugs now on the market.
Chemistry professor Peter B. Moore of Yale, who also studies the ribosome´s structure said "The Nobel Prize committee had
a substantial problem to solve because many people contributed" to unraveling the structure and function of the ribosome.
"In my opinion, they really did their homework, and given that they could only pick three"−the limit for sharing a single
prize−"they got the right three." The three amazing scientists made this year´s Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2009 a very notable
event as they are all from such different fields (Physics, molecular biology and X-Ray crystallography) but still got honored for
the same reason.
References:
• http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/2009/press.html
• http://www.mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk/ribo/homepage/ramak/index.html
• http://www.yale.edu/steitz/research.html
• http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ada_Yonath
Kindly mail your suggestions/feedback at [email protected] [http://www.chemistry.iitd.ac.in/chemcos
] | Copyright © 2010 All Rights Reserved

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