Ribosome structure trio take Nobel in chemistry

07 October 2009

Venki Ramakrishnan, Thomas Steitz and Ada Yonath have been awarded this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome".

Professor David Garner, President of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said today: "Understanding the chemical processes that allow ribosomes to construct the building blocks of life is clearly of enormous significance, and the Royal Society of Chemistry is delighted to see the contributions of these three great scientists recognised by the Nobel committee."

"Ribosomes are biological complexes that help translate genetic information into proteins. Understanding their structure and functions is the basis of understanding the chemistry of life," said Kathleen Too, Deputy Editor of RSC journal Integrative Biology.

They are a main target for new antibiotics to replace those which have been rendered ineffective by resistant bacteria. The new drugs stop the bacteria's ribosomes from making new proteins and keeping them alive.

The three scientists will share equally the prize money and prestige of the Nobel Prize.

This is the 101st Nobel Prize in Chemistry to be awarded since its inception in 1901, when Jacobus Henricus van 't Hoff took the first ever Nobel chemistry prize.

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