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Argonne's Advanced Photon Source Lit the Way to Chemistry Nobel
Date:10/7/2009

All three recipients of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry published papers on their award-winning work based on data collected at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory.

Argonne, Ill. (Vocus) -- All three recipients of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry published papers on their award-winning work based on data collected at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory.

Between them, biochemists Thomas Steitz of Yale University, Ada Yonath of Israel's Weizmann Institute, and Venkatraman Ramakrishnan of Cambridge, England's Medical Research Center have published more than 60 papers that describe research performed at Argonne's Advanced Photon Source (APS), which is supported by the DOE Office of Science. The three shared the award for their study of the structure and function of the ribosome.

Opened in 1996, the APS -- a synchrotron light source -- provides the brightest coherent X-ray beams in the Western Hemisphere. While the initial crystallographic experiments into the structure of the ribosome were performed in Europe, the construction of the APS enabled the laureates to view and understand the protein-producing large cellular assembly at a resolution far greater than ever before, said Argonne biophysicist Andrzej Joachimiak, who heads the laboratory's Structural Biology Center (SBC).

"Argonne was the first place where scientists could visualize this extraordinarily complex combination of macromolecules at the atomic level," Joachimiak said. "These studies could not have been done without synchrotron light sources and X-ray crystallography, and the APS is one of just a few places in the world where this research can be done."

The ribosome works as a protein factory in all organisms from humans to bacteria. As genetic material carrying the code for the protein sequence - messenger r
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