Paul Zamecnik, a Lasker award-winning biologist who co-discovered transfer RNA, died late last month at the age of 96. Zamecnik died at his Boston home after battling cancer.
In the mid-1950s, along with molecular biologists Mahlon Hoagland and Mary Stephenson, Zamecnik linkurl:discovered;http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/13538965?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=123 the molecule responsible for transporting amino acids to ribosomes during protein synthesis, which the trio dubbed transfer RNA (tRNA). Little was known about the mechanism of protein synthesis up to that point. The team's discovery was made possible through the development of an in vitro protein synthesis modeling system in which Zamecnik used C14-labeled amino acids to observe peptide bond formation. The paper announcing the discovery of tRNA, published in 1958, has been cited more than 620 times, according to ISI's Web of Knowledge. Later in his career, Zamecnik and Stephenson developed antisense technology, in which short, synthetic nucleotide sequences...
Image: Massachusetts General Hospital
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