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Summary Article: Hershko, Avram from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Hungarian-born Israeli scientist. With Israeli scientist Aaron Ciechanover and US scientist Irwin Rose shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2004 for his contributions to the understanding of the process of cell protein degradation.

Hershko was awarded his share of the Nobel Prize for his work concerning the mechanisms of protein degradation in the human cell. Although much was known about how a cell manufactured the 100,000 proteins that it used to function in various forms, such as hormones and enzymes, it was not known how damaged or unwanted proteins were removed, the process of protein degradation. Hershko and his fellow researchers discovered that a protein, later identified as ubiquitin, formed a stable covalent bond with unwanted proteins, effectively labelling them for disposal. Subsequent work showed that proteins labelled in this way were then moved to a structure in the cell called a proteasome, where they were degraded. It later became known that errors in the cell degradation process can cause diseases such as cystic fibrosis, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease to occur.

Hershko was born in Karcaq, Hungary. He immigrated to Israel with his family in 1950. Hershko received his MD from Hebrew University and Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, in 1965 and was awarded his doctorate in medicine from the same institution in 1969. He held the position of associate professor at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, from 1972 until 1980, when he was appointed to the position of full professor there. As of 2004 he held the position of distinguished professor at the Rappaport Family Institute for Research in Medical Sciences at the Technion.

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