Three researchers who made fundamental breakthroughs in understanding ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis have been awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said on Wednesday (October 6).

Aaron Ciechanover and Avram Hershko, from the Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, and Irwin Rose, of the University of California, Irvine, will share the prize for their discoveries in the 1970s and 1980s that began to reveal the central role of the tiny 76-amino acid protein in numerous cellular processes.

"Thanks to the work of the three laureates, it is now possible to understand at a molecular level how the cell controls a number of central processes by breaking down certain proteins and not others," the academy said.

"Without doubt they deserve this prize," John Mayer, professor of molecular cell biology at the University of Nottingham, told The Scientist. "Protein modification by ubiquitylation is just as important...

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