I'm a little pressed for time today 'cause my mid-term test is tomorrow. This is a molecule for all you hard-core biochemists out there.
You have to give me the common name of this molecule and explain what it's used for. You'll be pleased to know that I don't need the systematic IUPAC name for this one.
There's an indirect connection between this molecule and Wednesday's Nobel Laureate(s). Your task is to figure out the significance of today's molecule and identify the Nobel Laureate(s) who worked with it.
The reward goes to the person who correctly identifies the molecule and the Nobel Laureate(s). Previous winners are ineligible for one month from the time they first collected the prize. There are three ineligible candidates for this week's reward.1 The prize is a free lunch at the Faculty Club.
Send your guess to Sandwalk (sandwalk(at)bioinfo.med.utoronto.ca) and I'll pick the first email message that correctly identifies the molecule and the Nobel Laureate. Note that I'm not going to repeat Nobel Laureates so you might want to check the list of previous Sandwalk postings.
Correct responses will be posted tomorrow along with the time that the message was received on my server. I may select multiple winners if several people get it right.
UPDATE: The winner is Mike Fraser who correctly guessed that this is the tert-butyloxycarbonyl derivative of valine, also known as Boc-valine. The Boc group acts as a carboxy-terminal blocking group in the chemical synthesis of proteins. The most common peptide synthesizers are the solid phase peptide synthesizers originally developed by Bruce Merrifield. Merrifield received the Nobel Prize in 1984.
1. Here's an interesting bit of trivia. How many ScienceBlogTM authors have won the free lunch? How many have guessed the correct answer even though they weren't the first to do so? The answers might surprise you.