About the author
First of all, on behalf of the whole Your Formula team, I congratulate Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka. They are the 2012 winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their research of ‘G protein coupled receptors’.
‘G-what??’ you might think. Let me assure you that I didn’t know either when I woke up this morning. Now I have done some proper research and have learned, to my astonishment, that those ‘GPCR’ have already been very active today… in my body!
Let me explain in the easiest possible way: Receptors are molecules on the surface of cells in our bodies. They can be stimulated by internal or external signals. When that happens, the cell is instructed to do something.
The GPRCs are absolutely diverse and numerous. They exist inside nearly all living species. The exact number of GPCRs is unknown, but nearly 800 of them we found in human beings so far.
So what do they do exactly? GPCRs make us taste bitter, sweet and umami materials. They regulate our sense of smell by binding odorants and pheromones. They regulate our visual sense, our immune system and our nervous system. They do many more things, most of which haven’t even been discovered yet by our scientists.
The members of the Nobel Prize committee proved their sense of humour today when they started the press conference with a big scream, trying to scare the present journalists. Or later, when one member asked for coffee in order to continue her speech. In basically everything we do, GPCRs are involved. Without them, our lives would be very different.