Feeds

US boffins get Nobel for work on cell receptors

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

Application security programs and practises

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
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
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?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
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.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.