2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry: The Ribosome

The winners of this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry have been announced, and the prize will be shared equally between Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas Steitz, and Ada Yonath "for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome." The information encoded in DNA is decoded to produce functional proteins in two stages: transcription (DNA --> RNA) and translation (RNA --> protein). This prize was awarded for the work that described this second stage in atomic detail, and you can read more about it in the scientific background document released with the prize announcement. This prize complements the 2006 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, which was awarded for atomic-resolution work on transcription (although the transcription prize was specifically for work on eukaryotes, and the work recognized by the translation prize was carried out on prokaryotes).

This prize marks the sixth time in eight years that the Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded for biological work, and most of these have been for atomic-resolution structural biological work (X-ray crystallography in three cases, NMR in one). As I've noted before, crystallography and NMR involve a mix of biology, chemistry, and physics, so it's reasonable that such work is often recognized by the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

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The 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas A. Steitz and Ada E. Yonath "for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome." I know just about enough to recognize this as something biochemical, but I'm sure there will be plenty of commentary about…
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congralations,Mr.Venkatraman Ramakrishnan.Every tamilan is proud of your achievement

Congratulations Ada!! You are not just an asset to the Structural Biology Department of the Weizmann but to Israel and - as recognized with this prize, to the world.

NY Times:

"Dr. Yonathâs success, meanwhile, had drawn others into the field, including Dr. Steitz, who solved a key problem on how to interpret the dots on the diagram of the large sub unit, aided by electron microscope images of the ribosome obtained by Joachim Frank, then at the Wadsworth Center in Albany and now at Columbia. Meanwhile, Dr. Ramakrishnan, who got his start in ribosomes working as a postdoctoral fellow at Yale with Dr. Steitzâs colleague Peter Moore, decoded the structure of the other half of the ribosome, the so-called small sub unit."

Phasing was successful thanks to the cryo-EM method by J. Frank.

By Anonymous (not verified) on 08 Oct 2009 #permalink

For all the joint winner of Nobel Prize.
Very indians were proud of you Mr.Venkatraman Ramakrishnan.

Thanks for sharing this article!