Photo: D. Porges
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2004
Born: 1 October 1947, Haifa, British Protectorate of Palestine (now Israel)
Affiliation at the time of the award: Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
Prize motivation: "for the discovery of ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation."
Prize share: 1/3
An important process in our cells is the production of proteins. But proteins must also be broken down. At the beginning of the 1980s, Aaron Ciechanover, Avram Hershko, and Irwin Rose showed that one protein, ubiquitin, has a special mission in this context. When it is time for a protein to be broken down, a ubiquitin molecule attaches itself to the protein. The ubiquitin molecule serves as a key that enters a proteasome, a protein complex that divides the protein into smaller pieces. These can be used in the construction of other substances in the cell.