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1992 Krebs Lecture

1992 Edwin G. Krebs Lectureship in Molecular Pharmacology

The Fifth Annual Edwin G. Krebs Lecture in Molecular Pharmacology
Sponsored by an endowment from the Sterling Research Group
The Protein Kinase C Family: From Membrane Phospholipid Degradation to Cellular Regulation
Yasutomi Nishizuka, Ph.D.
Professor and Chairman, Deparment of Biochemistry, Kobe University School of Medicine

Wednesday, April 15, 1992
3:30 PM, Room T-625 HSC

Dr. Nishizuka is a pioneer in the study of cellular regulation by protein phosphorylation. Following important early work on the cAMP-dependent protein kinases, Dr. Nishizuka and his colleagues made the seminal discovery of the family of calcium- and phospholipid-dependent protein kinases in a series of studies beginning in 1977. Protein kinase C was shown to be the cellular mediator of many of the regulatory actions of neurotransmitters and hormones which act through calcium and diacylglycerol as second messengers. Their work established a new cascade of cellular regulatory reactions mediated by messenger molecules released by hydrolysis of phosphatidylinositol. This new enzyme family was implicated in control of cell growth by the discovery that protein kinase C is the receptor for the phorbol esters, among the most potent tumor promoters. Molecular biological studies identified several genetic subtypes of protein kinase C that are differentially expressed in a cell- and tissue-specific manner. Analysis of the primary structure of the enzyme revealed a protein kinase-like catalytic domain and a unique regulatory domain containing essential 'zinc-finder' calcium-binding motifs. Recent work has expanded the regulatory role of the protein kinase C family of protein kinases into new areas of cellular regulation in the nervous system and in a wide range of other cells. Dr. Nishizuka's work exemplifies the goal of research in molecular pharmacology to provide insight into the molecular basis of the actions of hormones and drugs.

Dr. Nishizuka received M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Kyoto University. Following a productive period of postdoctoral study with Professor Osamu Hayaishi at Kyoto University and Professor Fritz Lipmann at Rockefeller University, Dr. Nishizuka joined the Faculty of Medicine at Kyoto University as Associate Professor of Biochemistry in 1964. He assumed his present post as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry at Kobe University School of Medicine in 1969. Dr. Nishizuka has been a member of the editorial boards of many journals including the Biochemical Journal, Cellular Regulation, and Science, and he currently serves as Editor of Trends in Biochemical Sciences. He is a member of the National Academies of Science of the U.S.A. and Japan and a member of the Royal Society of the United Kingdom. His research contributions have been recognized by selection for numerous distinguished lectureships and awards including the Alfred P. Sloane Prize, the Gairdner Foundation International Award, and the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award.