US scientist. With Israeli scientist Aaron Ciechanover and Hungarian-born Israeli scientist Avram Hershko, Rose shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2004 for his contributions to the discovery of how cells use selection and degradation processes to regulate protein levels.
The human cell contains around 100,000 proteins that it uses in various forms, such as hormones or enzymes, to carry out specific functions, such as accelerators in chemical reactions or aiding the immune defence system. Before the award-winning work had been carried out, research had concentrated on how proteins were made in the cell, but less was known about the mechanisms of protein degradation, the process used to removed damaged or unwanted proteins. Rose and his fellow Nobel laureates discovered that a protein called ubitquitin formed a stable covalent bond with unwanted proteins, effectively labelling them for destruction. Later work showed that several ubiquitin molecules attached themselves to the labelled protein and delivered it to a structure in the cell called a proteasome, where it was degraded. It was subsequently seen that errors in the cell degradation process can cause major diseases such as cystic fibrosis, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease to occur.
Rose was born in New York, USA. He was awarded a bachelor of science in 1948 and doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Chicago, Illinois, in 1952. He joined the faculty at Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, in 1954 and was a senior member there from 1963 until his retirement in 1995. As of 2004 Rose held the position of specialist at the department of physiology and biophysics at the College of Medicine at the University of California, Irvine. Rose became a member of the US National Academy of Sciences in 1979.