Daria Martin, Schering Stiftung Projektraum

 

Ernst Schering Prize 1995

Prof. Dr. Yasutomi Nishizuka

On September 21, 1995, this year's Ernst Schering Prize was awarded to Professor Yasutomi Nishizuka, Kobe University, Japan, in Prague. Nishizuka receives the DM 75,000 prize for his basic and outstanding work on protein kinase C. This enzyme plays an important role in the communication between cells.

The award ceremony took place under the auspices of the Charles University in Prague. Nishizuka received the prize from the Vice-Chancellor of the Charles University, Professor Pavel Klener. As one of the oldest European university cities, Prague was chosen for the award ceremony by the Ernst Schering Research Foundation as a symbol of research tradition.

Cells receive signals from outside and transport these as messages into the cell. Inside the cell an answer will be induced which is specific to the cell type and signal. Signal molecules are, for example, hormones or growth factors. The basic question is how various cell types in different tissues of an organism can specifically recognize the information of signal molecules and process it further. On a cellular level, this involves a highly complex cascade of biochemical reactions. Protein kinase C is one of the key factors in this process.

In the late 1970s, Nishizuka was the first to describe protein kinase C. With his discoveries he initiated an intensive research into cell biology. So far, 11 forms (isoenzymes) of protein kinase C have been identified. Depending on cell type and function, researchers can identify different patterns of these isoenzymes. This research has led to a better understanding of the information pathways in the body and between cells.

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