2006 Nobel Prize in chemistry for insight into cells
Wednesday, October 4, 2006
Roger D. Kornberg of won the 2006 Nobel Prize for chemistry "for his studies of the molecular basis of eukaryotic transcription". Kornberg's prize-winning work explains how information encoded in is used to produce the that keep cells functioning.
are a multi-celled organisms, such as animals, plants and fungi, which have their genetic material stored in nuclei within their cells. In order to use their genetic information, eukaryotes must extract bits of the coded information. This occurs via the formation of , which consists of copies of a particular gene within the DNA strand. takes place when proteins are built from the information transcribed with the messenger RNA. Eucaryotic transcription is vital for life. If the transcription is interrupted, as can happen when cells are exposed to certain toxins, the cells will die.
Kornberg documented eukaryotic transcription with snapshots of the process in action. He created the snapshots by crystallizing cellular material partway through transcription, and exposing them to x-rays that produced patterns revealing the intermediate structures. Kornberg's work is vital for our understanding of life at the molecular level, and may lead to novel drugs and medical treatments.
- Nobel Committee. "2006 Nobel Prize for chemistry" — , October 4, 2006
- Celia Henry Arnaud. "Another Kornberg Nabs Nobel" — , October 4, 2006
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