Hungarian-born US biochemist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1937 for his investigation of biological oxidation processes and of the action of ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
In 1928 Szent-Györgyi isolated a substance from the adrenal glands that he named hexuronic acid; he also found it in oranges and paprika, and in 1932 proved it to be vitamin C.
Szent-Györgyi also studied the uptake of oxygen by muscle tissue. In 1940 he isolated two kinds of muscle protein, actin and myosin, and named the combined compound actinomyosin. When adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is added to it, a change takes place in the relationship of the two components which results in the contraction of the muscle. When a muscle contracts, myosin and actin move in relation to one another powered by energy released by hydrolysis of ATP and elevated levels of calcium in the muscle cells.
In the 1960s Szent-Györgyi began studying the thymus gland, and isolated several compounds from the thymus that seem to be involved in the control of growth.
Szent-Györgyi was born in Budapest and educated there and at universities elsewhere in Europe and in the USA. He was active in the anti-Nazi underground movement during World War II; after the war he became professor at Budapest. In 1947 he emigrated to the USA, where he became director of the National Institute of Muscle Research at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. From 1975 he was scientific director of the National Foundation for Cancer Research. His last work was Electronic Biology and Cancer (1976).
Szent-Györgyi, Albert von Nagyrapolt
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