The award will be presented to David Julius of the University of California, San Francisco and Lardem Patapoutian of the Scripps Institute in California for discoveries that have made it possible to understand the activity of the two cells responsible for sensing heat and touch and passing the information to the brain.
This year’s award will be given for discovering the connection between ion channels andTemperature sensing And touch. These channels are well.preserved proteins in evolution, and even exist in invertebrates, where they were first discovered by Israeli researcher Baruch Minka of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
These proteins work by conducting charged particles called ions and changing the electrical voltage of the cell membrane in response to changes in temperature. These changes trigger the neural response that reaches the brain and helps us recognize them. The canals are found in cell membranes in our skin and in many other places in the body.
There are several types of such canals, which sense temperatures in different ranges and help us differentiate between the heat of a pleasant spring day and boiling coffee. They can also be activated by alcohol and molecules that give a feeling of pungency like capsaicin – the active ingredient in hot pepper. This is why we feel a strong feeling of heat when we eat smoothies.
Ionic canals They are actually cylindrical proteins that are planted inside the cell membrane, and are used to conduct atoms with an electric charge (ions) of sodium, potassium, calcium and more. Each channel transmits certain ions, and also affects the bucket of tensions between the inside of the cell and its external environment, allowing the transmission of neural signals. There are types of ion channels, which play key roles in nerve conduction, muscle activity and more. Different channels have diverse opening and closing mechanisms, which allow control of the neural signal according to different stimuli. The two winners identified two types of such channels, with different opening mechanisms, one sensitive to temperature and the other to mechanical pressure, both of which play important roles in identifying stimuli from the environment.
David Julius of the University of California, San Francisco used capsaicin to detect heat.activated cells and from there isolated the gene encoding a channel called TRPV1 that is responsible for high.temperature sensation. He later also discovered the channel responsible for cold sensing, TRPM8, which is activated by the molecule menthol. This canal is responsible, among other things, for the feeling of coolness in the mouth when we chew mint gum.
Patputian discovered ion channels used to sense touch. He used a culture of touch.sensitive cells, which through genetic engineering changed the structure of their ion channels. He discovered two genes, called PIEZO1 and PIEZO2 which are important for the sense of touch.
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Julius was born in 1955 in New York, and received his doctorate in 1984 from the University of California, Berkeley. In 1989 he was accepted as a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, where he is a professor to this day. In 1996, he completed a doctorate in biology at the California Institute of Technology. He has won numerous awards for his work including the Cavalli Award in 2020 (along with Patapollian), the Shaw Award in 2010, the Geirdner Award in 2017 and the Breakthrough Award in 2020.
Petfutian was born in 1967 in Lebanon, and following the war there, his family immigrated to the United States. In 1986, he received his Ph.D. in 1996 from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and then went on to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. Since 2000 he has been a researcher at the Scripps Institute in California.