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UT Southwestern scientist shares 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Date:10/3/2011

DALLAS Oct. 3, 2011 Dr. Bruce A. Beutler, the new director of the Center for the Genetics of Host Defense at UT Southwestern Medical Center, today shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with two other scientists for their discoveries in how the immune system works.

Dr. Beutler and Dr. Jules A. Hoffmann of Strasbourg University's Institut de Biologie Molculaire et Cellulaire in France shared half the prize for their discovery of receptor proteins that recognize disease-causing agents and activate innate immunity, the first step in the bodys immune response. The other half went to the late Dr. Ralph M. Steinman of Rockefeller University in New York for his discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in adaptive immunity.

UT Southwestern faculty members now have won five Nobel Prizes since 1985. Dr. Michael Brown and Dr. Joseph Goldstein (1985), Dr. Johann Deisenhofer (1988), Dr. Alfred Gilman (1994) and Dr. Beutler (2011) have been honored by the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

Dr. Beutler, who returned this month to UT Southwestern, where he made his seminal discoveries, was searching for a receptor able to bind the bacterial product, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which can cause life-threatening septic shock, a condition that involves overstimulation of the immune system.

"It's a happy day. I'm absolutely delighted. It reaffirms that the time we spent cloning the LPS receptor gene at UT Southwestern in the 1990s was time well spent," Dr. Beutler said.

Dr. Beutler's original studies at UT Southwestern, where he was a faculty member and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator from 1986 to 2000, led to the identification of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) as a key mediation of inflammation and to the identification of Toll-like receptors as sensors that act like sentinels to alert the host immune system when infection is present.

In 1998, Beutler and his colleagues discovered that
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Contact: Deborah Wormser
deborah.wormser@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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