Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Monday's Molecule #118: Winners

UPDATE: The molecule is cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (CDK2), a protein involved in signaling [PDB 1b38]. The Nobel Laureate is Paul Nurse.

This week's winners are Mike Fraser of Toronto and Alex Ling of the University of Toronto.

This is a very famous protein but most of you won't be able to identify it from the structure alone. You'll need a hint of some sort.

Letting you know that the ligands are Mg2+ and adenosine-5′-triphosphate might not be enough so I'll also tell you that one of the authors on the structure paper was M.E. Noble.

There is one Nobel Laureate who is most closely identified with the function of this particular molecule, although that scientist was NOT the first to identify it. You have to identify the Nobel Laureate who got the prize for working out the function of the protein.

The first person to identify the molecule and the Nobel Laureate wins a free lunch at the Faculty Club. Previous winners are ineligible for one month from the time they first won the prize.

There are six ineligible candidates for this week's reward: Bill Chaney of the University of Nebraska, Elvis Cela from the University of Toronto, Peter Horwich from Dalhousie University, Devin Trudeau from the University of Toronto, Shumona De of Dalhousie University, and Maria Altshuler of the University of Toronto.

I note that Canadians are trouncing the rest of the world. That's as it should be.

I still have one extra free lunch donated by a previous winner to a deserving undergraduate so I'm going to continue to award an additional free lunch to the first undergraduate student who can accept it. Please indicate in your email message whether you are an undergraduate and whether you can make it for lunch.


Nobel Laureates
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 names the Nobel Laureate(s). Note that I'm not going to repeat Nobel Prizes so you might want to check the list of previous Sandwalk postings by clicking on the link in the theme box.

Correct responses will be posted tomorrow.

Comments will be blocked for 24 hours. Comments are now open.


  1. You should have presented the molecule more clearly with the ß sheet domain clearly visible. Kinases are characterized by an alpha helical and a ß sheet domain and both of these should ideally be illustrated in a structure.

  2. Or better yet, you should have given us a PDB file, appropriately edited of course. That way, I can see the molecule in any sort of fashion I wish and get the Monday Molecule faster. I think this is feasible, no?

  3. Umm...no? Nice sarcasm. You don't need a PDB file. But read any paper on kinases or kinase inhibitors that has images and you almost always see the kinase displayed in its alpha-beta orientation.

  4. At the risk of sounding sarcastic, I believe histidine kinases have a different structure from your description. I'm nothing like a structural biologist, so maybe you can confirm that.