This article is from the In-Depth Report The 2009 Nobel Prizes
60-Second Science

Nobel Prize in Chemistry

The 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas Steitz and Ada Yonath for studies of the protein-manufacturing ribosome, with implications for antibiotic development. Steve Mirsky reports

[The following is an exact transcript of this podcast.]

The 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to Venkatraman Ramakrishnan of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in England, Yale University’s Thomas Steitz, and Ada Yonath of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel for their studies of the ribosome. Gunnar von Heijne of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences at the official announcement:

“The three laureates have accomplished what many scientists thought impossible, namely to determine the three-dimensional structure of the molecular machine that makes all the proteins in a cell, the so-called ribosome. Using x-ray crystallography to obtain snapshots of the ribosome in action, they have been able to explain how the ribosome selects and couples together amino acids to form proteins. They have also shown how bacterial ribosomes can be stopped dead in their tracks by various antibiotics, thereby providing insights that help researchers design new drugs to be used in our never-ending fight against bacterial infections.”

—Steve Mirsky

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