Oct. 7, 2009
The 2009 Nobel Prize for Chemistry goes to Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas Steitz and Ada Yonath, for their work on the structure and function of the ribosome. The DNA code in the nucleus of our cells has to be translated into proteins for a cell to survive and grow. The DNA code is copied into short segments (messenger RNA) and ribosomes serve as translation factories to read the code and manufacture the appropriate protein that a cell needs. Each ribosome is a huge molecular complex of dozens of proteins. Ramakrishnan, Steitz and Yonath completed the mammoth task of mapping the position for each and every one of the hundreds of thousands of atoms that make up the ribosome. They also generated generated 3D models that show how different antibiotics bind to the ribosome.