Blobel, Günter

Blobel, Günter günˈtər blōˈbəl [key], 1936–2018, German cell and molecular biologist, M.D. Univ. of Tübingen, 1960, Ph.D. Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, 1967. Blobel was on the faculty at the Rockefeller Univ. from 1969 and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 1986. He discovered that intrinsic “signals” govern the location of proteins in cells as well as their ability to transport into and out of cells. The signal consists of a sequence of amino acids, arranged in a particular order, that is part of the protein molecule. Such signaling is universal, determining the behavior of proteins in cells of all types from simple yeasts to more complex plants and animals. Blobel's work laid the foundation for better understanding of the human immune system and of genetic diseases that are caused by errors in these signals, enabling the development of targeted drugs and therapies. It has also contributed to the development of techniques for using cells as “protein factories” for drug production. Blobel received the 1999 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for his work. In 1995 he founded Friends of Dresden to aid in the rebuilding and restoration of buildings destroyed during World War II.

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