Dubochet, Frank, Henderson win 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Nobel chemistry prize awarded for molecular machines which repair damaged DNA

But labs are now racing to adopt the cryo-EM method, because it can take pictures of proteins that can't easily be formed into large crystals.

Nobel Committee Chairman Sara Snogerup Linse has explained that the discovery helps us understand how biomolecules are built and how they act, adding that it will revolutionize biochemistry. First, the molecules exist naturally in water, the vapour from which destroys the vacuum required to run the microscope. Then the samples are pelted by a beam of radiation that can fry sensitive biomolecules. The achievement was to preserve the structure of liquid water at a temperature low enough so that it would not evaporate. Because the molecules were embedded in the membrane in an orderly fashion, Henderson got a diffraction pattern that he could turn into a higher resolution image.

Their persistence paid off when they captured a 3D map of bacteriorhodopsin, a protein pump used by single-celled microorganisms, in 1975.

The winners of the 2017 Prize employed three different approaches that together overcame these challenges, taking, as the Nobel Committee said, "biochemistry into a new era, making it easier than ever before to capture images of biomolecules". By being able to see the 3-D structure of, say, a ribosome - a minute structure within a cell that contained RNA - scientists can learn how ribosomes work in something like the Zika virus. This involves taking thousands of images of randomly oriented molecules and sorting them into groups of similar images. One of the applications of the three technology will be in medicine in health. The mathematical tools for image analysis were compiled as a computer programme suit. Today's award left Frank feeling "overwhelmed", he told the press conference by phone. During early 1980, Dubochet became successful in vitrifying the water content. he made the water cool so quickly. So we've gathered a few of the best cryo-electron microscopy images we could find.

Frank said he was "fully overwhelmed" on learning that he was a victor.

Cryo-electron microscopy was recently used to study the biomolecules linked to the Zika virus, which is responsible for cases of extremely small heads in newborn babies in Brazil and several other Latin American nations.

It's the third Nobel announced this week.

The prize comes with an award of 9 million Swedish kronor ($1.1 million), shared when there are multiple recipients. "That freedom, combined with very good resources, has been very helpful for the United States". In addition, a Speaking of Chemistry video on the Nobel Prize in Chemistry will be posted.

What real-implications does the Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson's work have?

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