Nobel Prize for Chemistry awarded for G-protein-coupled receptors
10 October 2012
The 2012 Nobel Prize for Chemistry has been awarded to Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka for groundbreaking discoveries that reveal the inner workings of G-protein-coupled receptors.
Professor David Phillips, Immediate Past-President of the Royal Society of Chemistry said of the announcement today: "It's very interesting to see that both the 2012 Nobel Prizes for Chemistry and Medicine have been awarded to cell biologists. This shows what an important role chemistry has to play in cell biology studies.
"G-protein-coupled receptors are ubiquitous in the function of cells in the body and help us to sense light, flavour and odour. They are also responsible for the human body's reactions to chemicals in the body such as adrenaline, histamine, dopamine and serotonin - which are associated with medical conditions such as allergies, depression and Parkinson's disease.
"But before Robert Lefkowitz identified them and, together with Brian Kobilka determined how they work, nobody even knew they existed.
"The key to understanding this family of proteins has been the determination of their molecular structure.
"Now, half of all medications achieve their effect through G-protein-coupled receptors. It is no surprise that Lefkowitz and Kobilka have been awarded this year's Nobel Prize because these receptors have such a vital implication for human health."
Robert Lefkowitz has written a historical perspective on G-protein-coupled receptors for an RSC book, G Protein-Coupled Receptors: From Structure to Function, which is part of the RSC Drug Discovery Series.
This book considers the relationship between structure and function in G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and the implications for drug design.
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