Faced with these challenges, it's a miracle that cells work so well. How the proteins are sorted by the cell has long been a mystery. The fact that one no longer has to believe in miracles in this respect today is largely due to the German-American biochemist Peter Walter. During his doctoral thesis at Rockefeller University in the laboratory of the late Nobel laureate Günter Blobel he discovered in the early 80s, a sophisticated mechanism by which the cell can control newly formed proteins in the ER: It ensures that the amino acid chain during its synthesis to the ER membrane is delivered.
All proteins are created by joining individual amino acids of a ribosome, the cell's protein factory. The end of this chain, which will finish first, may now have a sequence of amino acids that acts as a signal for a molecular taxi: this taxi attaches itself to the signal sequence of the half-finished protein and "drives" the amino acid chain together with the ribosome Recognition point on the ER. Here, the bond between the taxi and its cargo is released, and the amino acids are channeled through a channel into the ER. The molecular taxi was made by Walter? Signaling Particles? ? short SRP? called.
The SRP is today textbook knowledge and has taken cell biology one step further. For this achievement, Peter Walter will today be the? Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize? awarded, which is endowed with 100, 000 euros. The price of the Paul Ehrlich Foundation is considered the highest honor that Germany has to award in the field of medicine. It has been presented every year since 1952 on the 14th of March, the birthday of Paul Ehrlich, and has often proved to be the harbinger of a Nobel Prize: since the beginning of the 1990s, nine winners of the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter awards have been awarded later considered the Nobel Prize. display
Incidentally, Peter Walter owes an amazing discovery to the SRP to a lucky coincidence: a student had left a false optical filter in a measuring device. Thus, after initial confusion, the SRP, in addition to a protein content, also contains a proportion of ribonucleic acids, a sister molecule of DNA. "It was really a discovery we had to chance and the fact that we stuck to something that did not make any sense, " Walter said in an interview in 2011. "By now, I'm getting quite excited when there's no one Make sense!? Today, the 57-year-old works as a professor at the University of California in San Francisco. Among other things, the next step in protein synthesis currently involves him: controlling the correct protein folding in the ER. Obviously answers to diseases like cancer and type II diabetes are also hidden here.Part of the award-winning work Peter Walter and Günter Blobel published in 1982 in the journal "Nature" (doi: 10.1038 / 299691a0) © science.de? Maria Bongartz