Ukr.Biochem.J. 2021; Volume 93, Issue 6, Nov-Dec, pp. 139-152

doi: https://doi.org/10.15407/ubj93.06.139

Breaking the genetic code – a new revolutionary stage in the development of molecular biology: 1968 Nobel Prize laureates M. W. Nirenberg, H. G. Khorana, R. W. Holley

O. P. Matyshevska*, V. M. Danilova, S. V. Komisarenko

Palladin Institute of Biochemistry, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv;
*e-mail: matysh@yahoo.com

Received: 28 October 2021; Accepted: 12 November 2021

This review presents the life stories of M. Nirenberg, H. Khorana, and R. Holley, winners of the 1968 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, the history of the discoveries made by these scientists, and the methodological approaches used in their works. Owing to the M. Nirenberg and H. Khorana research, the nucleotide compositions of all mRNA triplet codons were decoded. H. Khorana was the first scientist to experimentally prove the direct link between the nucleotide sequence of DNA and the amino acid sequence of the synthesized protein and to obtain a synthetic gene. R. Holley was the first to completely decode the sequence of transport RNA, determine its secondary structure and role in protein synthesis on the ribosome. The Nobel Prize awarded to the scientists was a recognition of their contribution in understanding the mechanisms of coding and reading genetic information and marked a breakthrough moment in the development of molecular biology.

Keywords: , , , , , , , , ,


References:

  1. Danylova TV, Komisarenko SV. Standing on the shoulders of giants: James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, Rosalind Franklin and the birth of molecular biology. Ukr Biochem J. 2020;92(4):154-164. CrossRef
  2. Matyshevska OP, Danilova VM, Komisarenko SV. The discovery of the DNA double helix, or the revolution that ushered in the era of molecular biology (Nobel Prize 1962). Ukr Biochem J. 2020;92(6):183-198. CrossRef
  3. Matyshevska OP, Danilova VM, Komisarenko SV. The discovery of genetic control of enzyme and virus synthesis: 1965 Nobel Prize Laureates André Lwoff, François Jacob, Jacques Monod. Ukr Biochem J. 2021;93(4):111-119. CrossRef
  4. Matyshevska OP, Danilova VM, Komisarenko SV. The discovery of the mechanisms of biological synthesis of nucleic acids: 1959 Nobel laureates S. Ochoa and A. Kornberg. Ukr Biochem J. 2021;93(1):129-138. CrossRef
  5. Marshall Warren Nirenberg. Regime of access :  https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall Warren Nirenberg.
  6. Nirenberg MW, Matthaei JH. The dependence of cell-free protein synthesis in E. coli upon naturally occurring or synthetic polyribonucleotides. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 1961;47(10):1588-1602. PubMed, PubMedCentral, CrossRef
  7. Speyer JF, Lengyel P, Basilio C, Wahba AJ, Gardner RS, Ochoa S. Synthetic polynucleotides and the amino acid code. Cold Spring Harbor Symp Quant Biol. 1963;28:559-567. CrossRef
  8. Kaji A, Kaji H. Specific interaction of soluble RNA with polyribonucleic acid induced polysomes. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1963;13(3):186-192. CrossRef
  9. Nirenberg M, Leder P. RNA codewords and protein synthesis. The effect of trinucleotides upon the binding of sRNA to ribosomes. Science. 1964;145(3639):1399-1407. PubMedCrossRef
  10. Marshall W. Nirenberg. Nobel Lecture. Regime of access : https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/1968/nirenberg/lecture/
  11. Har Gobind Khorana. Regime of access :  https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/Har Gobind Khorana.
  12. Har Gobind Khorana. Regime of access :  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Har Gobind Khorana.
  13. Danylova TV, Komisarenko SV. Double Nobel prize winner: Frederick Sanger – the father of genomics. Ukr Biochem J. 2021;93(2):116-122. CrossRef
  14. Professor Har Gobind Khorana. Biographical summary.  Regime of access :  https://www.whatisbiotechnology.org/index.php/people/summary/Khorana
  15. Kornberg A, Bertsch LL, Jackson JF, Khorana HG. Enzymatic synthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid, XVI. Oligonucleotides as templates and the mechanism of their replication. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 1964;51(2):315-323. PubMed, PubMedCentral, CrossRef
  16. H. Gobind Khorana. Nobel Lecture. Regime of access :  https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/1968/khorana/lecture/
  17. Danilova VM, Matyshevska OP, Komisarenko SV. Nobel Prize laureate Kary Mullis and the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Ukr Biochem J. 2021;93(5):122-131. CrossRef
  18. Khorana HG.  Total synthesis of a gene. Science. 1979;203(4381):614-625. PubMed, CrossRef
  19.  Robert W. Holley. Regime of access :  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert W. Holley
  20. Madison JT, Holley RW. The presence of 5,6-dihydrouridylic acid in yeast “soluble” ribonucleic acid. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1965;18:153-157. PubMed, CrossRef
  21. Robert W. Holley. Nobel Lecture. Regime of access :  https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/1968/holley/lecture/
  22. Holley RW, Apgar J, Everett GA, Madison JT, Marquisee M, Merrill SH, Penswick JR, Zamir A. Structure of a ribonucleic acid. Science. 1965;147(3664):1462-1465. PubMed, CrossRef
  23. Ewalt KL, Schimmel P.  tRNA synthetases. In Encyclopedia of Biological Chemistry (P. Modrich and W. J. Lennarz, eds.), Elsevier (Academic Press). 2003;4: 263-266.

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.