Brian Kobilka

Brian Kobilka is probably having a pretty good day today.

Not only is he in Stockholm delivering his Nobel lecture and settling down for a banquet with the  Swedish royal family as he picks up his medal for this year’s Nobel prize in chemistry, but he has a paper in Nature today as well.

Is this timing purely a coincidence, or a subtle tribute on the part of the Nature editors? The more cynical among you may call it good marketing, but I’d like to think of it as a metaphorical doff of the cap.

Kobilka, a relatively press-shy academic from Stanford University in California, US, was thrust into the limelight in October when he shared this year’s chemistry Nobel with his former mentor, Bob Lefkowitz. You can read more about the pair and their work on G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) in my feature article.

The latest paper is yet another in a long line of GPCR structures that Kobilka and his team have solved, showing  protease activated receptor 1 (PAR1) bound to cancer drug vorapaxar. The drug binds very strongly to the receptor, and the structure throws a little light on why that is.

I hope all this year’s Nobel laureates enjoy today’s festivities, it is certainly a well-earned party!

Phillip Broadwith

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