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Stanford And Duke Docs Win Chemistry Nobel

Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:32 am

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Drs. Robert J. Lefkovitz and Brian K. Kobilka of Duke and Stanford University Medical Centers respectively.   

I saw the webcast from Sweden on and would like to urge fellow geeks to check out the video.

The Prize was awarded for pioneering work on G-Receptors in cells, so you could say the the prize went to biochemists. There was a fascinating talk on G receptors and I feel that something that amazing could not have just 'evolved'   

Here is my take:

G-Receptors are one of seven types of receptors that sense the presence of hormones and transmit that information to inside the cell. They attach to a hormone, say Adrenaline, whose shape changes the geometry of the receptor (like a bunch of sticks) which in turn will signal to alpha, beta and gamma thingies inside the cell. This is how a cell an sense not just adrenaline, but also light, smell, histamine and other stimuli.

So that marks the end of the Prizes in the serious categories. To follow are the Economics, Literature and Peace Prizes. (Sorry, to me Economics = Pottery).

btw Doc- was the winner a prof of yours?

[Edited 2012-10-10 03:36:40]
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RE: Stanford And Duke Docs Win Chemistry Nobel

Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:38 pm

I wonder why this was a Nobel in Chemistry rather than in Medicine. Usually, biological research wins Medicine prizes, not Chemistry.

G-coupled receptors are a class of receptors that serve many, many different roles in just about every cell type in the animal body (and I think plants and fungi, too... possibly protozoa, but not bacteria). They receive a signal from outside the cell and initiate an amplification cascade within the cell that leads to whatever target effect that particular receptor mediates. They get their name because inside the cell there is a protein called the "G-protein" that is attached to the receptor that becomes activated once the receptor binds its ligand.
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