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Proteins 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

"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




"...I 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


Photos: © The Nobel Foundation
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