Luis F. Leloir
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1970
Born: 6 September 1906, Paris, France
Died: 2 December 1987, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Affiliation at the time of the award: Institute for Biochemical Research, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Prize motivation: “for his discovery of sugar nucleotides and their role in the biosynthesis of carbohydrates”
Prize share: 1/1
Carbohydrates, including sugars and starches, are of paramount importance to the life processes of organisms. Luis Leloir demonstrated that nucleotides—molecules that also constitute the building blocks of DNA molecules—are crucial when carbohydrates are generated and converted. In 1949 Leloir discovered that one type of sugar’s conversion to another depends on a molecule that consists of a nucleotide and a type of sugar. He later showed that the generation of carbohydrates is not an inversion of metabolism, as had been assumed previously, but processes with other steps.