Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition)

Extolled beauty of cellular forms

- HARRISON SMITH

DR GÜNTER Blobel, a Nobel Prizewinni­ng biologist who extolled the beauty of cellular structures and baroque architectu­re alike, and who used the money he won for his protein research to mend war-ravaged buildings in his native Germany, died on February 18 at a hospital in Manhattan. He was 81.

The cause was cancer, said a spokespers­on at Rockefelle­r University in New York, where Blobel had been a faculty member since 1967.

Blobel spent decades studying the movement of proteins, biological­ly indispensa­ble molecules that transmit signals, defend against viruses or bacteria, transport atoms or molecules, and catalyse chemical reactions. Each human cell contains about 1 billion proteins, most of which live for several days before they must be replaced by still more proteins of several thousand varieties.

While healthy cells are abuzz with production and movement, newly formed proteins always seem to know their destinatio­n, Blobel and his colleagues observed in the early 1970s.

Sanford Simon, a Rockefelle­r University biophysici­st and former student of Blobel, said he wanted to understand the architectu­re of the cell. – Washington Post

 ??  ?? Günter Blobel
Günter Blobel

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