2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry : Revealing the ribosome
The 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to Ada E. Yonath, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, United Kingdom and Thomas A. Steitz, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome.
This is the 101st chemistry Nobel to be awarded since 1901, and Professor Yonath is only the fourth woman to win. The prize is to be shared equally between the three scientists, who all contributed to revealing the ribosome's huge and complex molecular structure in detail. The work of the three new Laureates has led to a better understanding of the molecular basis of translation and may have wider implications for human health and medicine. Their structural studies have revealed how antibiotics can bind to ribosomes in different ways to disrupt protein synthesis - and this may lead to the development of new antibiotics in the fight against multiresistant bacteria.
This is a great example of collaborative work and as the president of the American Chemical Society Thomas Lane said the award was "a wonderful example of leaders in their disciplines - people from around the world - working towards a common goal and being able to achieve it.
Nature Chemistry, Research highlights, 7 October 2009
Science reporter, BBC News,
Structure of the Elongation Factor P bound to the 70S ribosome. Steitz, Science 2009. Coordinates from Protein Data Bank