ASBMB Nobel Prize Winners

1994 - Martin Rodbell



Martin Rodbell (1925-1998) was awarded half the 1994 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of G proteins and the role of these proteins in signal transduction in cells. Working separately from fellow Nobel Laureate Alfred G. Gilman, Rodbell found that the G protein is the intermediate signal transducer that communicates between a cell’s hormone receptor and an enzyme inside the cell. While studying the effects of the hormone glucagon (a hormone involved in carbohydrate metabolism) on a rat liver membrane receptor, he discovered that adenosine triphosphate (ATP) could reverse the binding action of glucagon on the cell receptor and that guanosine triphosphate (GTP) could reverse the binding process much faster than ATP. Later, he discovered more than 20 G proteins and he concluded that G proteins play a part in many diseases, such as cholera, diabetes, alcoholism, and cancer.