ASBMB Nobel Prize Winners

1971 Earl W. Sutherland

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Sutherland

Earl Wilbur Sutherland Jr. (1915 – 1974) was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1971 for his discoveries concerning how hormones work. In 1958, Sutherland made the discovery that would lead to his Nobel Prize by isolating a previously unknown compound, called cyclic adenine monophosphate (cAMP). Sutherland later discovered that cAMP is formed as a result of the breakdown of adenine monophosphate by the enzyme adenyl cyclase. This discovery led to him to develop the “second messenger scheme,” in which a hormone does not enter the cell but binds to a surface receptor which stimulates adenyl cyclase, causing the formation of cAMP, which in turn activates or inhibits various metabolic processes.