Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nobel Prize In Chemistry 2002: Revolutionary Analytical Methods For Biomolecules

Date:
October 10, 2002
Source:
The Nobel Foundation
Summary:
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2002 ”for the development of methods for identification and structure analyses of biological macromolecules” with one half jointly to John B. Fenn, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, USA, and Koichi Tanaka, Shimadzu Corp., Kyoto, Japan ”for their development of soft desorption ionisation methods for mass spectrometric analyses of biological macromolecules” and the other half to Kurt Wüthrich Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zürich, Switzerland and The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, USA ”for his development of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy for determining the three-dimensional structure of biological macromolecules in solution.”

October 9, 2002 -- The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2002 ”for the development of methods for identification and structure analyses of biological macromolecules” with one half jointly to John B. Fenn, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, USA, and Koichi Tanaka, Shimadzu Corp., Kyoto, Japan ”for their development of soft desorption ionisation methods for mass spectrometric analyses of biological macromolecules” and the other half to Kurt Wüthrich Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zürich, Switzerland and The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, USA ”for his development of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy for determining the three-dimensional structure of biological macromolecules in solution.”

This year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry concerns powerful analytical methods for studying biological macromolecules, for example proteins. The possibility of analysing proteins in detail has led to increased understanding of the processes of life. Researchers can now rapidly and simply reveal what different proteins a sample contains. They can also determine three-dimensional pictures showing what protein molecules look like in solution and can then understand their function in the cell. The methods have revolutionised the development of new pharmaceuticals. Promising applications are also being reported in other areas, for example foodstuff control and early diagnosis of breast cancer and prostate cancer.

Mass spectrometry is a very important analytical method used in practically all chemistry laboratories the world over. Previously only fairly small molecules could be identified, but John B. Fenn and Koichi Tanaka have developed methods that make it possible to analyse biological macromolecules as well.

In the method that John B. Fenn published in 1988, electrospray ionisation (ESI), charged droplets of protein solution are produced which shrink as the water evaporates. Eventually freely hovering protein ions remain. Their masses may be determined by setting them in motion and measuring their time of flight over a known distance. At the same time Koichi Tanaka introduced a different technique for causing the proteins to hover freely, soft laser desorption. A laserpulse hits the sample, which is “blasted” into small bits so that the molecules are released.

The other half of the Prize rewards the further development of another favourite method among chemists, nuclear magnetic resonance, NMR. NMR gives information on the three-dimensional structure and dynamics of the molecules. Through his work at the beginning of the 1980s Kurt Wüthrich has made it possible to use NMR on proteins. He developed a general method of systematically assigning certain fixed points in the protein molecule, and also a principle for determining the distances between these. Using the distances, he was able to calculate the three-dimensional structure of the protein. The advantage of NMR is that proteins can be studied in solution, i.e. an environment similar to that in the living cell.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Nobel Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Nobel Foundation. "Nobel Prize In Chemistry 2002: Revolutionary Analytical Methods For Biomolecules." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 October 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021010072000.htm>.
The Nobel Foundation. (2002, October 10). Nobel Prize In Chemistry 2002: Revolutionary Analytical Methods For Biomolecules. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021010072000.htm
The Nobel Foundation. "Nobel Prize In Chemistry 2002: Revolutionary Analytical Methods For Biomolecules." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021010072000.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) — AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shipping Crates Get New 'lease' On Life

Shipping Crates Get New 'lease' On Life

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 25, 2014) — Shipping containers have been piling up as America imports more than it exports. Some university students in Washington D.C. are set to get a first-hand lesson in recycling. Their housing is being built using refashioned shipping containers. Lily Jamali reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) — Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) — TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins