Sir John Walker
John Ernest Walker
7 January 1941
|Education||Rastrick Grammar School|
|Alma mater||University of Oxford (BA, DPhil)|
Christina Westcott(m. 1963)
|Institutions|| University of Oxford |
Laboratory of Molecular Biology
University of Cambridge
|Thesis||Studies on naturally occurring peptides (1970)|
|Doctoral advisor||Edward Abraham|
Sir John Ernest Walker FRS FMedSci (born 7 January 1941) is a British chemist who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1997. As of 2015 [update] Walker is Emeritus Director and Professor at the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit in Cambridge, and a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.
Fellowship of the UK Royal Society is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of London judges to have made a 'substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science, and medical science'.
Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci) is an award for medical scientists who are judged by the Academy of Medical Sciences for the "excellence of their science, their contribution to medicine and society and the range of their achievements".
Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with elements and compounds composed of atoms, molecules and ions: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they undergo during a reaction with other substances.
Walker was born in Halifax, Yorkshire, the son of Thomas Ernest Walker, a stonemason, and Elsie Lawton, an amateur musician. He was brought up with his two younger sisters (Judith and Gen) in a rural environment and went to Rastrick Grammar School. At school, he was a keen sportsman and specialized in physical sciences and mathematics the last three years. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from St Catherine's College, Oxford.Walker began his study of peptide antibiotics with Edward Abraham at Oxford in 1965 and received his Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1969. During this period, he became interested in developments in molecular biology.
Halifax is a minster town in the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale in West Yorkshire, England. Historically in the West Riding of Yorkshire, the town has been a centre of woollen manufacture from the 15th century onward, originally dealing through the Piece Hall. Halifax is known for Mackintosh's chocolate and toffee products including Rolo and Quality Street. The Halifax Bank was also founded and is still headquartered in Halifax. Dean Clough, one of the largest textile factories in the world at more than 1⁄2 mile (800 m) long, was in the north of the town. The premises have since been converted for office and retail use including a gym, theatre, Travelodge and radio station.
Yorkshire, formally known as the County of York, is a historic county of Northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Due to its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform. Throughout these changes, Yorkshire has continued to be recognised as a geographical territory and cultural region. The name is familiar and well understood across the United Kingdom and is in common use in the media and the military, and also features in the titles of current areas of civil administration such as North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and East Riding of Yorkshire.
A Bachelor of Arts is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, sciences, or both. Bachelor of Arts programs generally take three to four years depending on the country, institution, and specific specializations, majors, or minors. The word baccalaureus should not be confused with baccalaureatus, which refers to the one- to two-year postgraduate Bachelor of Arts with Honors degree in some countries.
From 1969 to 1971, Walker worked at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and from 1971–1974 in France. He met Fred Sanger in 1974 at a workshop at the University of Cambridge. This resulted in an invitation to work at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology of the Medical Research Council, which became a long-term appointment. Among the other staff was Francis Crick, who was well known for his discovery of the molecular structure of DNA. At first, he analyzed the sequences of proteins and then uncovered details of the modified genetic code in mitochondria. In 1978, he decided to apply protein chemical methods to membrane proteins. In this way, Walker characterized the subunit composition of proteins in the mitochondrial membrane and the DNA sequence of the mitochondrial genome.
The University of Wisconsin–Madison is a public research university in Madison, Wisconsin. Founded when Wisconsin achieved statehood in 1848, UW–Madison is the official state university of Wisconsin, and the flagship campus of the University of Wisconsin System. It was the first public university established in Wisconsin and remains the oldest and largest public university in the state. It became a land-grant institution in 1866. The 933-acre (378 ha) main campus, located on the shores of Lake Mendota, includes four National Historic Landmarks. The University also owns and operates a historic 1,200-acre (486 ha) arboretum established in 1932, located 4 miles (6.4 km) south of the main campus.
The University of Cambridge is a collegiate public research university in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Founded in 1209 and granted a Royal Charter by King Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's fourth-oldest surviving university. The university grew out of an association of scholars who left the University of Oxford after a dispute with the townspeople. The two 'ancient universities' share many common features and are often referred to jointly as 'Oxbridge'. The history and influence of the University of Cambridge has made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.
Francis Harry Compton Crick was a British molecular biologist, biophysicist, and neuroscientist. In 1953, he co-authored with James Watson the academic paper proposing the double helix structure of the DNA molecule. Together with Watson and Maurice Wilkins, he was jointly awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material". The results were based partly on fundamental studies done by Rosalind Franklin, Raymond Gosling and Wilkins.
His landmark crystallographic studies of the F1-ATPase, the catalytic region of the ATP synthase (done in collaboration with crystallographer Andrew Leslie), from bovine heart mitochondria revealed the three catalytic sites in three different conformations imposed by the position of the asymmetric central stalk. This structure supported the binding change mechanism and rotary catalysis for the ATP synthase (and related enzymes), one of the catalytic mechanisms proposed by Paul Boyer. This work, published in 1994, led to Walker's share of the 1997 Nobel prize for chemistry. Since this structure, Walker and his colleagues have produced most of the crystal structures in the PDB of mitochondrial ATP synthase, including transition state structures and protein with bound inhibitors and antibiotics. Scientists trained in Walker's group at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge or MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit have gone on to determine crystal bacterial complex I and cryo-EM maps of mitochondrial complex I and vacuolar type ATPases.
Students and postdoctoral research fellows who studied with John Walker who have gone on to independent research careers include:
Walker was elected an EMBO Member in 1984.He shared his Nobel Prize with the American chemist Paul D. Boyer for their elucidation of the enzymatic mechanism underlying the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate. They also shared the prize with Danish chemist Jens C. Skou for research unrelated to theirs (Discovery of the Na+/K+-ATPase). Sir John was knighted in 1999 for services to molecular biology. He is a member of the Advisory Council for the Campaign for Science and Engineering. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1995. Walker is also a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences and an Honorary Fellow of St Catherine's College, Oxford. He became a foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999. In 2012 he was awarded the Copley Medal.
Paul Delos Boyer was an American biochemist, analytical chemist, and a professor of chemistry at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). He shared the 1997 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for research on the "enzymatic mechanism underlying the biosynthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP)" with John E. Walker, making Boyer the first Utah-born Nobel laureate; the remainder of the Prize in that year was awarded to Danish chemist Jens Christian Skou for his discovery of the Na+/K+-ATPase.
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a complex organic chemical that provides energy to drive many processes in living cells, e.g. muscle contraction, nerve impulse propagation, and chemical synthesis. Found in all forms of life, ATP is often referred to as the "molecular unit of currency" of intracellular energy transfer. When consumed in metabolic processes, it converts either to adenosine diphosphate (ADP) or to adenosine monophosphate (AMP). Other processes regenerate ATP so that the human body recycles its own body weight equivalent in ATP each day. It is also a precursor to DNA and RNA, and is used as a coenzyme.
Denmark, officially the Kingdom of Denmark, is a Nordic country and the southernmost of the Scandinavian nations. Denmark lies southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and is bordered to the south by Germany. The Kingdom of Denmark also comprises two autonomous constituent countries in the North Atlantic Ocean: the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Denmark proper consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and an archipelago of 443 named islands, with the largest being Zealand, Funen and the North Jutlandic Island. The islands are characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts, low elevation and a temperate climate. Denmark has a total area of 42,924 km2 (16,573 sq mi), land area of 42,394 km2 (16,368 sq mi), and the total area including Greenland and the Faroe Islands is 2,210,579 km2 (853,509 sq mi), and a population of 5.8 million.
Walker married Christina Westcott in 1963, and has two daughters.
Max Ferdinand Perutz was an Austrian-born British molecular biologist, who shared the 1962 Nobel Prize for Chemistry with John Kendrew, for their studies of the structures of haemoglobin and myoglobin. He went on to win the Royal Medal of the Royal Society in 1971 and the Copley Medal in 1979. At Cambridge he founded and chaired (1962–79) The Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB), fourteen of whose scientists have won Nobel Prizes. Perutz's contributions to molecular biology in Cambridge are documented in The History of the University of Cambridge: Volume 4 published by the Cambridge University Press in 1992.
ATP synthase is an enzyme that creates the energy storage molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the most commonly used "energy currency" of cells for all organisms. It is formed from adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and inorganic phosphate (Pi). The overall reaction catalyzed by ATP synthase is:
Sir John Cowdery Kendrew, was an English biochemist and crystallographer who shared the 1962 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Max Perutz; their group in the Cavendish Laboratory investigated the structure of heme-containing proteins.
Sir Aaron Klug was a Lithuanian-born, South African-educated, British biophysicist, and winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his development of crystallographic electron microscopy and his structural elucidation of biologically important nucleic acid-protein complexes.
Sir Gregory Paul Winter is a Nobel Prize-winning British biochemist best known for his work on the therapeutic use of monoclonal antibodies. His research career has been based almost entirely at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology and the MRC Centre for Protein Engineering, in Cambridge, England.
Michael Levitt, is an American-British-Israeli biophysicist and a professor of structural biology at Stanford University, a position he has held since 1987. Levitt received the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, together with Martin Karplus and Arieh Warshel, for "the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems".
Richard Henderson is a Scottish molecular biologist and biophysicist and pioneer in the field of electron microscopy of biological molecules. Henderson shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2017 with Jacques Dubochet and Joachim Frank.
John Anthony Hardy FRS is a human geneticist and molecular biologist at the Reta Lila Weston Institute of Neurological Studies at University College London with research interests in neurological diseases.
The MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit is a department of the School of Clinical Medicine at the University of Cambridge, funded through a strategic partnership between the Medical Research Council and the University. It is located at the Addenbrooke’s Hospital / Cambridge Biomedical Campus site in Cambridge, England. The unit is concerned with the study of the mitochondrion, as this organelle has a varied and critical role in many aspects of eukaryotic metabolism and is implicated in a large number of metabolic, degenerative, and age-related human diseases.
MT-ATP8 is a mitochondrial gene with the full name 'mitochondrially encoded ATP synthase membrane subunit 8' that encodes a subunit of mitochondrial ATP synthase, ATP synthase Fo subunit 8. This subunit belongs to the Fo complex of the large, transmembrane F-type ATP synthase. This enzyme, which is also known as complex V, is responsible for the final step of oxidative phosphorylation in the electron transport chain. Specifically, one segment of ATP synthase allows positively charged ions, called protons, to flow across a specialized membrane inside mitochondria. Another segment of the enzyme uses the energy created by this proton flow to convert a molecule called adenosine diphosphate (ADP) to ATP. Subunit 8 differs in sequence between Metazoa, plants and Fungi.
ATP synthase F1 subunit alpha, mitochondrial is an enzyme that in humans is encoded by the ATP5F1A gene.
ATP synthase subunit delta, mitochondrial, also known as ATP synthase F1 subunit delta or F-ATPase delta subunit is an enzyme that in humans is encoded by the ATP5F1D gene. This gene encodes a subunit of mitochondrial ATP synthase. Mitochondrial ATP synthase catalyzes ATP synthesis, utilizing an electrochemical gradient of protons across the inner membrane during oxidative phosphorylation.
ATP synthase F1 subunit epsilon, mitochondrial is an enzyme that in humans is encoded by the ATP5F1E gene. The protein encoded by ATP5F1E is a subunit of ATP synthase, also known as Complex V. Variations of this gene have been associated with mitochondrial complex V deficiency, nuclear 3 (MC5DN3) and Papillary Thyroid Cancer.
Mariann Bienz FRS FMedSci is a distinguished molecular biologist based at the UK Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology. She has been a member of their Senior Scientific Staff since 1991, was Joint-head of Cell Biology in 2007/8 and has been a Group Leader of Protein and Nucleic Acid Chemistry Division since 2008.
The Walker A and Walker B motifs are protein sequence motifs, known to have highly conserved three-dimensional structures. These were first reported in ATP-binding proteins by Walker and co-workers in 1982.
Dario Alessi FRSE FRS is a biochemist, Director of the Medical Research Council Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit and Professor of Signal Transduction, at the School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee.
Roger Sidney Goody is an English biochemist who served as director at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology in Dortmund from 1993 until 2013. Since 2013 he is Emeritus Director of the institute.
Richard Nelson Perham, FRS, FMedSci, FRSA, was an English Professor of molecular biology, and Master of St John's College, Cambridge 2004–07. He was also editor-in-chief of FEBS Journal from 1998 to 2013.
Jan Löwe is a German molecular and structural biologist who works at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge, UK. Löwe became Director of the MRC-LMB in April 2018 taking over from Hugh Pelham. Löwe is known for his contributions to the current understanding of bacterial cytoskeletons.
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