The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2012 was awarded jointly to Robert J. Lefkowitz and Brian K. Kobilka for groundbreaking discoveries that reveal the inner workings of G-protein'coupled receptors. Lefkowitz, a AAAS member, is an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.
"Lefkowitz started to use radioactivity in 1968 in order to trace cells' receptors. He attached an iodine isotope to various hormones, and thanks to the radiation, he managed to unveil several receptors, among those a receptor for adrenalin: '-adrenergic receptor. His team of researchers extracted the receptor from its hiding place in the cell wall and gained an initial understanding of how it works," according to the Nobel Prize website.
In the 1980s Lefkowitz brought Kobika onto his team and together they were able to isolate the gene that codes for the '-adrenergic receptor from the gigantic human genome. They discovered that the receptor was similar to one in the eye that captures light. They realized that there is a whole family of receptors that look alike and function in the same manner. Today this family is referred to as G-protein'coupled receptors.
Congratuations to both men!
Learn more about Lefkowitz and Kobilka's Nobel Prize here.
Learm more about the work of AAAS member Robert J. Lefkowitz