Structural Biochemistry/William H. Stein

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William H. Stein[edit | edit source]

Introduction[edit | edit source]

William H. Stein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1972 along with Christian Anfinsen and Stanford Moore work on the ribonuclease molecule in the connection between the amino acid sequence and biologically active conformation and also contributions to the understanding of the connection between chemical structure and catalytic activity of the active center of the molecule.

Discovery[edit | edit source]

Of the three scientists that worked to earn the Nobel Prize, Afinsen showed that the reason for the conformational changes that occur in ribonuclease upon reaction can be determined from the sequence of amino acids that make it up. The three scientists together have determined the sequence of amino acids that make up the entire enzyme ribonuclease. Furthermore, Stein and Moore observed that the amino acids making up the active site have much higher reactivity and were able to uncover what the groups were that made up the active site and were able to give a detailed representation of it even before the entire structure of ribonuclease was determined. Through this, it is said that Stein and Moore led studies that uncovered the important relationship between the chemical structure of an enzyme and its activity as a catalyst.

Early Life[edit | edit source]

William Howard Stein was born on January 25, 1911 in New York City to Fred and Beatrice Stein. His father was a businessman who worked at the New York Tuberculosis and Health Association after retirement and his mother also helped the community by making the lives of impoverished children better in New York. Stein attended the Lincoln School of Teachers College at Columbia University and here, he developed his early interests in creative arts, music, and writing. It was also at this school where he had his first chemistry course. Next, he went to the preparatory school Phillips Exeter Academy, which was a challenging educational experience. From there, Stein went on to Harvard University where he graduated in 1933 as a chemistry major. As a graduate student, Stein continued to stay at Harvard University where he decided to study biochemistry instead of organic chemistry.

Accomplishments[edit | edit source]

Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1972) Member of Editorial Committee of the Journal of Biological Chemistry for six years (Chairman of the committee for three years) Member of Editorial Board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry in 1962 Associate Editor from 1964-1968 Chairman of US National Committee of Biochemistry Member of Council of the Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness of the NIH

Death[edit | edit source]

William Stein had a disease called Gullain-Barré Syndrome which is an autoimmune disease centered around the peripheral nervous system which rendered Stein paralyzed by 1971. He passed away from heart failure in 1980.

References[edit | edit source]

"Press Release: The 1972 Nobel Prize in Chemistry". 6 Dec 2012

"William H. Stein - Autobiography". 6 Dec 2012