Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Predictions by Nobel Bourse for Chemistry Prize for Oct. 6

The Nobel Bourse was "in the race" for the physics prize but was clueless on the medicine prize. Let's see how they do Oct. 6, 2004 when the chemistry prize is announced.

From The Scientist:

The Nobel Prize Bourse Web site went online September 1 in the German language, Skiera said. Due to requests from outside of Germany, English language pages were added 9 days later.

Skiera said the German Research Foundation has contributed to the project by funding two half-time, 2-year positions for the project team, including the position held by Web site technical manager Kepper. The daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper has provided written profiles of candidates being traded. IBM Germany has donated a notebook computer. In addition, E-Finance Lab, which helped develop the Web site, donated five Apple iPod digital music players to be awarded to winning Nobel Prize Bourse participants.

Both Skiera and Kepper said this year's Nobel Prize Bourse had been a learning process and that a new, improved version would be launched next year for 2005 prizes.

Skiera quipped: "We were running behind schedule this year, but unfortunately could not ask the [Nobel Prize] committee to postpone the selection process a few weeks."

As of Tuesday morning, the top performers in the Chemistry Prize—due to be announced Wednesday [Oct. 6, 2004]—were Kyriakos Nicolaou, George Whitesides, and Albert Eschenmoser.

[Note: at least these projections are more up-to-date than the selection of a 1970's patent for the Ig Nobel Prize. Further, one of the patent's inventors is deceased, a clear Nobel violation. Remember Rosalind Franklin...]

Well, back to the drawing board for the Nobel bourse as none of the top performers got the prize:

On October 6, Aaron Ciechanover, Avram Hershko and Irwin Rose jointly won the Nobel prize for chemistry for discovering how proteins are broken down.

The work was directed to ``the cell functions as a highly efficient checking station where proteins are built up and broken down at a furious rate,'' according to the Stockholm- based Nobel Foundation said in a statement on its Web site.

Ciechanover, 57, and Hershko, 67, (the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa), and Rose, 78, (the University of California at Irvine), focussed on understanding at a molecular level of how the cell controls a number of central processes by breaking down certain proteins and not others. The scientists will share an award of $1.36 million.

There is a patent angle.

Dr. Hershko is a named inventor on U.S. Patent 6,528,633 (issued March 4, 2003 and assigned to President and Fellows of Havard College (Cambridge, MA); Rappaport Family Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences (Haifa, IL)), entitled "Cyclin-selective ubiquitin carrier polypeptides."

The patent carries the text: This invention was made in part with Government support under Grant no. NIH HD-23696 (JVR), awarded by the National Institutes of Health, and as such the Government has certain rights in the invention, and thus would appear to be done through the Bayh-Dole Act.

Further, the patent is a continuing application, and carries the text: This application is a divisional of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/828,533, filed on Mar. 31, 1997, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,180,379 which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/820,693, filed on Mar. 18, 1997, now abandoned, which claims priority from U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/014,492, filed on Apr. 1, 1996, all of which applications are hereby incorporated by reference.

Claim 1 of the '633 patent recites:
An isolated nucleic acid encoding a non-xenopal, ubiquitin carrier polypeptide (Ubc) having an amino acid sequence with about 94 to about 100% sequence identity to the amino acid sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO:1, wherein said Ubc is involved in the ubiquitination of cyclin A and/or B.

US Patent No. 6,287,858 cites to Hershko, Avram, and Ciechanover, Aaron, "The Ubiquitin System for Protein Degradation," Annu. Rev. Biochem., 61:761-807 (1992).

Dr. Ciechanover is a named inventor on U.S. Patent 6,656,713 (issued December 2, 2003 and assigned to Signal Pharmaceuticals of San Diego, CA), entitled "Compounds and methods for modulating activation of NF-.kappa.B."

The abstract states:

Compositions and methods for modulating the activation of nuclear factor .kappa.B (NF-.kappa.B) are provided. The compositions comprise one or more agents that modulate ubiquitination of phosphorylated I.kappa.B.alpha. and/or I.kappa.B.beta.. Such compositions may be used for treating diseases associated with NF-.kappa.B activation. Modulating agents include human E3 ubiquitin ligases, antibodies thereto and variants thereof, as well as related proteins.

The first claim recites:

An isolated polypeptide comprising SEQ ID NO:16 or a truncated portion thereof of at least 50 amino acid residues wherein said portion retains the ability to enhance ubiquitination of phosphorylated I.kappa.B.

The '713 is a continuation application: "This is a Continuation of Ser. No. 09/210,060 filed Dec. 10, 1998 now abandoned which is hereby incorporated in its entirety by reference."

A technical paper by Ciechanover is cited: "The Ubiquitin-Proteasome Proteolytic Pathway," Cell 79:13-21, 1994. US Patent 6,613,541 (assigned to Millennium Pharmaceuticals; issued September 2, 2003), US Patent 6,365,358 (assigned to Incyte Genomics; issued April 2, 2002) and US Patent 6,287,858 (assigned to Dana Farber Cancer Institute, issued September 11, 2001)cite to the same paper.

Ciechanover is the first inventor on US Patent 5,384,255 (assigned to Rappaport Family Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences (Haifa, IL); issued January 24, 1995), entitled "Ubiquitin carrier enzyme E2-F1, purification, production, and use." To date, this patent has been cited by 15 other US patents. The '255 patent carries the statement: "Part of the work performed during development of this invention utilized U.S. Government funds. Therefore, the U.S. Government has certain rights in this invention."

US 5,264,365 cites to an earlier paper: Herschko, Avram and Ciechanover, Aaron, "Mechanisms of Intracellular Protein Breakdown", Ann. Rev. Biochem., 51:335-364 (1982).


from The Scientist:

A lot of their work was done during sabbatical breaks that Hershko and Ciechanover spent with Rose at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. Beginning with a paper in 1978, the three laureates published a series of biochemical studies that revealed and characterized the ubiquitin system. Two papers published in PNAS in 1980, which started to explain the role of ubiquitin in adenosine triphosphate–dependent proteolysis, are considered pivotal.

A. Ciechanover et al., "ATP-dependent conjugation of reticulocyte proteins with the polypeptide required for protein degradation," PNAS, 77:1365-8, March 1980.

A. Hershko et al., "Proposed role of ATP in protein breakdown: Conjugation of proteins with multiple chains of the polypeptide of ATP-dependent proteolysis" PNAS, 77:1783-6, April 1980.


Blogger jm said...

I was searching for ubiquitin protein information for a paper and found your article. informative! also, I you may be interested in Science Magazine's current webinar: Science Magazine's Webinar: The Ubiquitin-Proteasome Pathway

8:44 AM  

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