Irwin Rose


Irwin Rose

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Irwin Rose
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2004

Born: 16 July 1926, Brooklyn, NY, USA

Died: 3 June 2015, Deerfield, MA, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: University of California, Irvine, CA, USA

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, Irwin Rose, Aaron Ciechanover, and Avram Hershko 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.

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