are involved in most cell
functions, and in most body functions such as digestion and movement.
Because of proteins'
important and varied functions, they are closely regulated by the
body through enzymes.
The enzymes fine tune the working of a protein by attaching one
or more phosphate groups to it. This is called "phosphorylation."
Fischer and Krebs first purified and described an enzyme which regulates
proteins by removing phosphate groups from the protein-"reversible
protein phosphorylation." They did this by studying how muscles
get energy to contract. Reversible protein phosphorylation affects
nearly all bodily processes such as blood pressure, brain signals,
and immune responses to several diseases, including cancer. For
information about Fischer and Krebs' work, see www.nobel.se/medicine/laureates/1992/press.html.
"This is yet another example of what makes fundamental research
so attractive: one knows where one takes off but one never knows
where one will end up." Edmond H. Fischer, Les Prix Nobel, 1992
Edmond Fischer was born in Shanghai, China, April 6, 1920 to an
Austrian father and French mother. He was educated in Switzerland
at the School of Chemistry, and came to the University of Washington,
Seattle in the early 1950s to teach biochemistry. He became interested
in enzymes during his early work in Switzerland, trying to discover
the molecular structure of starch and glycogen. For more information
about Fischer, see www.nobel.se/medicine/laureates/1992/fischer-autobio.html.
became so enamored with biochemistry that I decided to remain in
that field rather than returning to internal medicine." Edwin G.
Krebs, Les Prix Nobel, 1992
Edwin G. Krebs, born in Lansing, Iowa, June 6, 1918, studied chemistry,
biology and physics at the University of Illinois. He later received
his M.D. from the Washington University School of Medicine in St.
Louis and served in the Navy during World War II. He taught at the
University of Washington, Seattle, after the war, and began his
investigations into how muscles work. He later became a department
chair at the University of California, Davis and the University
of Washington. For more information about Krebs, see www.nobel.se/medicine/laureates/1992/krebs-autobio.html.
The Nobel Foundation