These processes are essential to living beings’ interaction with the surrounding world and crucial to survival
STOCKHOLM, October 4. /TASS/. The 2021 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian, the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute said. The award is “for their discoveries of receptors for temperature and touch”.
The motivation part of the decision says the award winners discovered a mechanism of activating nerve impulses that make it possible to feel temperature and pressure. These processes are essential to living beings’ interaction with the surrounding world and crucial to survival.
David Julius utilized capsaicin, a pungent compound from chili peppers that induces a burning sensation, to identify a sensor in the nerve endings of the skin that responds to heat. Ardem Patapoutian used pressure-sensitive cells to discover a novel class of sensors that respond to mechanical stimuli in the skin and internal organs.
“These breakthrough discoveries launched intense research activities leading to a rapid increase in our understanding of how our nervous system senses heat, cold, and mechanical stimuli. The laureates identified critical missing links in our understanding of the complex interplay between our senses and the environment,” the Nobel Committee said.
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