The US scientists who received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry were able to map how cells detect and respond to chemicals they encounter.
Norbert von der Groeben/Reuters
Two US researchers have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for uncovering and mapping a key mechanism used by cells to detect and respond to the presence of hormones and other chemicals they encounter, a mechanism seen as vital to the pharmaceutical industry’s development of new drugs.
The prize, which carries an 8 million krona ($1.2 million US) purse, was given to Robert Lefkowitz of Duke University in Durham, N.C., and the Maryland-based Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and to Brian Kobilka of Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.
The two were awarded for work on a family of proteins embedded in cell walls that detect the presence of a hormone such as adrenaline outside a cell, then conduct that information through the cell wall to a protein switch inside that touches off a cell's response.