Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka win Nobel chemistry prize for work on protein receptors

Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka who win 2012 Nobel
prize for research on protein receptors [Photo: Wikipedia] 
Stockholm: Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka, two American researchers won the 2012 Nobel Prize in chemistry Wednesday for their contribution to bio-science as their studies shed light on how billions of cells in our body sense their environments.

Their prize was for their studies of protein receptors that let body cells sense and respond to outside signals.  Such studies are key for developing better drugs.

Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka, both the scientists, will share the prize of 8million Swedish kronor.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the 8 million crown prize went to Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka for discovering the inner workings of G-protein-coupled receptors, gateways to cells that react to chemical messages.

The study focuses on how cells in the body respond to stimuli such as a rush of adrenalin. The discovery is about a coupled receptors what called G protein, a number of proteins that reach through cell walls.

The human body has about 1,000 kinds of such receptors, which let it respond to a wide variety of chemical signals, like adrenaline. Some receptors are in the nose, tongue and eyes, and let us sense smells, tastes and vision.

Lefkowitz, 69, is an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and professor at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.

Kobilka, 57, is a professor at Stanford University School of Medicine in California.

Notably, about half of all medications act on these receptors, so learning about them will help scientists to come up with better drugs.

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