Wolf Prize Laureate in Medicine 1994/5
Affiliation at the time of the award:
Kobe University School of Medicine, Japan
“for their discoveries concerning cellular transmembrane signalling involving phospholipids and calcium”.
Working independently, Professors Berridge and Nishizuka have dramatically advanced our understanding of signal transduction cascades that regulate a wide variety of cellular processes, including secretion, fertilization, cellular growth and differentiation, and information processing in the brain.
Yasutomi Nishizuka discovered the protein kinase C family and its activation by extracellular signalling agents via the breakdown of membrane hospholipids. Through meticulous enzymological studies Nishizuka and his colleagues demonstrated that protein kinase C is activated by diacylglycerol and calcium. Work fromhis laboratory and subsequently from many other laboratories has established that the enzymes in the protein kinase C family are involved in a wide variety of cellular processes. Protein kinase C also mediates certain pathological conditions, such as the promotion of tumours by phorbol esters. It is thus another of the fundamental mediators of cellular responses to environmental signals.