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Nobel Prizes 2004 Protein degradation Olfactory system Strong interaction.

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Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2004
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry is
awarded to Aaron J. Ciechanover
(Technion, Haifa, Israel), Avram
Hershko (Technion, Haifa, Israel), and
Irwin A. Rose (University of California,
Irvine, USA) for the discovery of ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation.
Ciechanover, Hershkom, and Rose
A. Hershko and A. J. Ciechanover (right)
have demonstrated that the cell functions as a highly efficient checking station where proteins are
built up and broken down
at a very high rate. Far
less research has been
done on protein degradation than on protein synthesis. The degradation is
not indiscriminate but
takes place through a process that is controlled in
detail so that the proteins
to be broken down at any
I. A. Rose
given moment are given a
5722
molecular label: ubiquitin, a protein
which consists of 76 amino acid residues.
This unit fastens to the protein to be
destroyed, accompanies it to the proteasome where it is recognized as the key in
a lock, and signals that a protein is on
the way for disassembly. Shortly before
the protein enters the proteasome, its
ubiquitin label is disconnected for reuse. Thanks to the work of the three laureates it is now possible to understand at
the molecular level how the cell controls
a number of central processes by breaking down certain proteins and not
others. When the degradation does not
work correctly, diseases result, such as
certain forms of cancer.[1]
Ciechanover (b. 1947) obtained an
M. Sc. degree (1971) and a doctorate in
medicine (M. D., 1974) from Hadassah
Medical School in Jerusalem. He
obtained a D. Sc. from Technion in
Haifa in 1982 and was appointed
professor of biochemistry at its
Rappaport
Institute
for
Research in the Medical Sciences, as was Hershko (b. 1937).
Hershko obtained M. D. (1965)
and Ph. D. (1969) degrees from
Hadassah Medical School. Rose
(b. 1926) has been an emeritus
professor at the Department of
Physiology and Biophysics of
the University of California in
Irvine since 1997, and is a
member of the US National
Academy of Sciences. A major
part of the research was done
during a series of sabbatical
leaves in the late 1970s and
early 1980s that Hershko and Ciechanover spent as visiting scientists in
Rose<s laboratory at Fox Chase Cancer
Center in Philadelphia, where he was
employed from 1963 to 1995. Rose
earned a Ph. D. in biochemistry in 1949
from the University of Chicago. Subsequently, he worked as a Post-Doc at
Case Western Reserve University in
Cleveland and New York University
and served on the faculty of the Department of Biochemistry of Yale Medical
School from 1954 to 1963. This is the
first time a Nobel Prize in science has
been awarded to Israelis.
2004 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
DOI: 10.1002/anie.200462233
Physiology or Medicine
Richard Axel (Columbia University,
New York, USA) and Linda B. Buck
(Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research
Center, Seattle, WA, USA) were
awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology
or Medicine 2004 for their discoveries
of odorant receptors and the organization of the olfactory system. They discovered a large gene family, which consists of some 1000 different genes
(three per cent of our genes) that give
rise to an equivalent number of olfactory receptor types. These receptors
are located on the olfactory receptor
cells, which occupy a small area in the
upper part of the nasal epithelium and
detect the inhaled odorant molecules.
Physics
Their research on the very fundaments
of physics has brought this year<s
Nobel Prize in Physics to David J.
Gross (University of California, Santa
Barbara, USA), H. David Politzer (California Insitute of Technology, USA),
and Frank Wilczek (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA): The particle
physicists are recognized for the discovery of asymptotic freedom in the theory
of the strong interaction, which keeps
the quarks in neutrons and protons
together. In a way that resembles releasing a rubber band, this force weakens
when the particles move closer together.
Eventually, they behave almost like free
particles. This discovery was formulated
in an elegant mathematical way in 1973
and led to a completely new theory:
quantum chromodynamics.
This year, the Prizes are worth 1.1
million Euros each. They are given traditionally on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel<s death.
Photos: Technion / P. R. Kennedy
(UCI)
[1] a) A. Ciechanover, A. L. Schwartz, Hepatology 2004, 35, 3, b) A. Ciechanover, A.
Orian, A. L. Schwartz, BioEssays 2000,
22, 442.
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2004, 43, 5722
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