Chemistry Nobel goes to Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka

The 2012 Nobel prize in chemistry has gone to two US researchers whose work shed light on how the billions of cells in our body sense their environments.

Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka, both of the US, will share the prize of 8m Swedish kronor (£750,000; $1.2m). Their work focuses on what are called G protein-coupled receptors, a number of proteins that reach through cell walls. Understanding how they work has been crucial to unravelling the complex network of signalling between cells.

Sven Lidin of the Nobel committee started his summary of the work by shouting “Boo!” to assembled reporters; the rush of adrenaline one gets when scared, he explained, is just one manifestation of this vast network, communicating a chemical signal across billions of cells through otherwise impenetrable cell membranes. Via Chemistry Nobel goes to Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka.

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