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CHECK Thomas

( Chemist, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1989)

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Biography CHECK Thomas
CHECK, THOMAS (Cech, Thomas) (p. 1947) (U.S. and Canada). Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1989 (with S. Oltmenom).
Born in Chicago on Dec. 8, 1947. Santa Checa Joseph, a shoemaker, immigrated to the U.S. from Bohemia in 1913. His other ancestors, and the Czechs, the Americans were the first generation. His father - a doctor, his mother - a housewife.

Check discovered science, collecting rocks and minerals. In 1966 joined the Grinell College, where he studied with equal interest in literature, history and chemistry.

At first carried away by the physical chemistry, which taught him to exact measurements during practice at the Argonne National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, and later became interested in biological chemistry.

In 1970 continued his studies at the University of California at Berkeley. The head of his dissertation work, John Hirst has infected his interest in the structure of chromosomes and their function.

In 1975, Check, thesis, and passed for postdoctoral training at Cambridge in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In 1978 he became a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Check here made his major discovery. Was the first who reported on the catalytic activity of RNA. This happened in 1982. A year later, C. Altman came to the same conclusion.

Established central dogma of molecular biology was the relationship: DNA R R RNA enzyme. Earlier it was thought that both DNA and RNA are the only carriers of genetic information, while proteins in the form of enzymes catalyze the chemical processes of life. Check and independently by C. Altman denied this dogma.

In 1970-1980-ies Check and Altman studied how the genetic code is transferred from DNA to RNA. They were aware that part of the genetic information is not mandatory and she must get rid of RNA molecule, before she starts using cell. In seeking a solution to this problem and Altman check discovered that the enzymatic function takes no protein, and catalytic RNA.

Check studied RNA molecule of primitive single-celled organism Tetrahymena. He found that the unnecessary part can be removed from the middle part of this RNA molecule, and after removal of this fragment remaining segments are connected together. Sensational was that the RNA molecule itself catalyzes the reaction. Remove snippets of RNA modifies itself in such a way that is able to function, among other things, the role of the enzyme synthesizing RNA. Catalytic RNA can create a new RNA.

Works Altman and Checa showed that the catalytic activity of RNA molecules depends on their three-dimensional structure, as is the case of protein enzymes.

Opening of the catalytic RNA, which is also called ribozyme, it is important both for science and for the production.

Catalytic RNA, possibly responsible not only for cutting and the reunification of RNA, but also plays a major role in many biological processes. The chemical processes of life often require the interaction of protein - RNA. Perhaps, RNA and protein enzymes are not playing a leading role.

Catalytic RNA - a new powerful tool for genetic engineering. There is a clear use of catalytic RNA in biotechnology and medicine. For example, plants, prepared by genetic engineering, can be resistant to viruses, if you create a ribozyme, which will break and destroy the genetic material of the virus. The same seems quite clear and in the design of drugs against viral infections.

Finally, a new approach to the interpretation of the problem of the chemical mechanism of origin of life on Earth. What biomolecules appeared on earth first? How could life, . if the DNA molecule of genetic material may be reproduced only with the help of protein enzymes, . while the proteins themselves can be built only with the help of genetic information, . done in the DNA?,

. Opening of the Cheka and Altman showed that this molecule could not be a protein molecule, and not a DNA molecule
. RNA molecule meets the required parameters - it can simultaneously serve as a genetic material, and possess the properties of the enzyme.

In 1989, Ceku and S. Oltmenu was awarded the Nobel Prize 'for his discovery of catalytic properties of RNA. "

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