Three Win Chemistry Nobel for Ribosome Research


Dennis Overbye in the New York Times:

Three researchers whose work delves into how information encoded on strands of DNA is translated by the chemical complexes known as ribosomes into the thousands of proteins that make up living matter will share the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the Swedish Academy of Sciences said Wednesday.

The trio are Venkatraman Ramakrishnan of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England; Thomas A. Steitz of Yale University; and Ada E. Yonath of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. Each scientist will get a third of the prize, worth 10 million Swedish kronors in total, or $1.4 million, in a ceremony in Stockholm on Dec. 10.

If the sequence of lettered nucleic acids in DNA forms the blueprint for life, ribosomes are the factory floor. In a press release, the Swedish academy said the three, who worked independently, were being honored “for having showed what the ribosome looks like and how it functions at the atomic level.”

More here.