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Signal Transduction: Evolution of an Idea

Nobel Foundation
Publication Date
  • Adenylate Cyclase
  • History Of Medicine
  • History
  • 20Th Century
  • Hormones
  • Signal Transduction
  • Biology
  • Communication


SIGNAL TRANSDUCTION: EVOLUTION OF AN IDEA Nobel Lecture, December 8, 1994 ‘>Y National Institute of Environmental Health Scienes, P.O. Box 12233, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA In general there is no set of observations conceivable which can e’ve enough information about the past of a system to give com- @de information as to its future.. . Norbert Wiener Think simplicity; then discard it.. . . Alfred North Whitehead INTRODUCTION I was born in 1925, a time when there were no talking movies, radio was just emerging as a popular listening device, when newspapers printed important information, and libraries were sources of both pleasure and learning. My father’s grocery store (above which we lived) was a community center where people from blocks away would come for their groceries and to gossip. We knew or knew about everyone in our neighborhood. In that atmosphere I grew up as a young man feeling the warmth of this community. Retrospcclively, I have come to realize how important this long-gone com- munity and the intense human relationships have been to my development as a scientist. My scientific neighborhood encompasses a place where cultu- ral and language differences have been melded seamlessly and with synergy to promote communication, to expand knowledge with a kinship of purpo- se, and to create new thought. Nature, which we often equate with our gene- tic make-up, and Nurture, which symbolizes our environment, interact mutu- ally and synergistically in this community. These are the forces that have given meaning to life; i.e. the parable ofwhich comes first, the chicken or the egg, is not of biological importance. My lecture symbolizes my interest in societal/cellular relationships and concerns the broad issues of biological communication. The first half will deal with the development of the concept of transducers and their role in cell signaling. Since this concepl is still at an evolulionary phase, I will con-

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