Feeds

US boffins get Nobel for work on cell receptors

'I didn't believe it till I heard five Swedish accents'

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

US boffins have bagged the Nobel prize for chemistry for helping to figure out how cells sense their environment.

Robert Lefkowitz of Duke University and Brian Kobilka at Stanford School of Medicine won for their work on G-protein coupled receptors, which snake in and out of cell's membrane and are one of the main methods of communication with the rest of the body.

"I didn't believe it at first, but after I spoke with about five people - they handed the phone around - with really convincing Swedish accents, I started to think it was for real," Kobilka said.

Receptors convey chemical messages from hormones like adrenaline, which originate outside the cells, inside the cells so they can react, increasing blood pressure, affecting pain tolerance, glucose metabolism and virtually all known physiological processes.

Although scientists had known for some time that cell surfaces most have some kind of recipient for hormones, what they could be made of or how they might work was a mystery for most of the 20th century.

Kobilka and his former mentor Lefkowitz isolated eight of the nine subtypes of beta-adrenergic receptors and figured out their amino acid sequences in the early 1980s. The adrenergic receptors are among the most common G-protein coupled receptors, and deal with humans' flight-or-fight response to epinephrine.

In-depth knowledge about receptors helps medical researchers as well, since around 40 per cent of all medicines target specific receptors for treatment. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.