2012 Chemistry Nobel for Lefkowitz, Kobilka

imageUS scientists Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka win the 2012 Nobel Prize in chemistry for studies of an important family of protein receptors, called G-protein-coupled receptors.

What are G-protein-coupled receptors?

  • It is an important family of receptors found in human body cells which allow the cell to sense and respond to outside chemical signals like adrenaline. The human body has about 1,000 kinds of such receptors, some receptors are in the nose, tongue and eyes, and help in sensing smells, tastes and vision.

What could be the possible application of the study?

  • The study will be helpful in enhancing the understanding of modern pharmacology as well as how cells in different parts of living organisms can react differently to external stimulation, such as light and smell, or the internal systems which control our bodies such as hormones. The study could be particularly helpful in the development of new and better pharmaceuticals as about half of all medications achieve their effect through G-protein-coupled receptors.

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