The Info List - Jens Christian Skou

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Jens Christian Skou
Jens Christian Skou
(Danish pronunciation: [ˈjɛns kʁæsdjæn ˈsɡʌwˀ]; born October 8, 1918) is a Danish medical doctor and Nobel laureate.


1 Early life 2 Career 3 References 4 External links

Early life[edit] Skou was born in Lemvig, Denmark
to a wealthy family. His father Magnus Martinus Skou was a timber and coal merchant. His mother Ane-Margrethe Skou took over the company after the death of his father. At the age of 15, Skou entered a boarding school in Haslev, Zealand. He graduated in medicine from the University of Copenhagen
University of Copenhagen
in 1944 and received his doctorate in 1954. He began working at the Aarhus University
Aarhus University
in 1947 and was appointed professor of biophysics in 1977. He retired from the Aarhus University
Aarhus University
in 1988, but he has kept his offices at the Department of Physiology
(today part of Department of Biomedicine). Career[edit] In 1997 he received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Nobel Prize in Chemistry
(together with Paul D. Boyer and John E. Walker) for his discovery of Na+,K+-ATPase [1], making him the most recent Danish Nobel laureate and the first Nobel laureate at Aarhus University. Skou had taken a few years away from his clinical training in the early 1950s to study the action of local anaesthetics. He had discovered that a substance’s anaesthetic action was related to its ability to dissolve in a layer of the lipid part of the plasma membrane, the anaesthetic molecules affected the opening of sodium channels which he assumed to be protein. This, he argued, would affect the movement of sodium ions and make nerve cells inexcitable, thus causing anaesthesia. Skou thought that other types of membrane protein might also be affected by local anaesthetics dissolving in the lipid part of the membrane. He therefore had the idea of looking at an enzyme which was embedded in the membrane and finding out if its properties were affected by local anaesthetics. He looked at ATPase in crab nerves. The enzyme was there, but unfortunately its activity was very variable and he needed a highly active enzyme for his studies. Eventually he managed to discover that ATPase was most active when exposed to the right combination of sodium, potassium and magnesium ions. Only then did he realise that this enzyme might have something to do with the active movement of sodium and potassium across the plasma membrane. This idea had been postulated many years before, however, the mechanism was quite unknown. Skou published his findings. However, in his paper he was wary of identifying the enzyme with the active ion movement, so he left out the term “sodium-potassium pump” from the title of his paper. Indeed, he seems only gradually to have realised the importance of his discovery, and he continued his studies on local anaesthetics. In 1958 Skou went to a conference in Vienna to describe his work on cholinesterase. There he met Robert Post (born 1920 [2]), who had been studying the pumping of sodium and potassium in red blood cells. Post had recently discovered that three sodium ions were pumped out of the cell for every two potassium ions pumped in, and in his research he had made use of a substance called ouabain which had recently been shown to inhibit the pump. Post had not read Skou’s paper, but he was excited when Skou told him about his work with ATPase. Post asked whether the enzyme was inhibited by ouabain. At this stage Skou was unaware that ouabain inhibited the pump, but he immediately telephoned to his lab and arranged for the experiment to be done. Ouabain
did indeed inhibit the enzyme, thus establishing a link between the enzyme and the sodium-potassium pump. Following the Nobel Prize, Skou has given several interviews recounting the story of his discoveries, and at age 94 was reported to still keep up with publications in his field. [3][4] References[edit]

Clausen, Torben (August 2007). "[J.C. Skou identified Na+,K+-pump--a breakthrough and its significance]". Ugeskrift for Læger. 169 (35): 2897. PMID 17878005.  Boldyrev, A A (2000). "Na+,K+-ATPase: 40 years of investigations". Membrane & cell biology. 13 (6): 715–9. PMID 10963431.  Skou, J C (August 1998). "Nobel Lecture. The identification of the sodium pump". Biosci. Rep.
Biosci. Rep.
18 (4): 155–69. doi:10.1023/A:1020196612909. PMID 9877230.  Klodos, I (1998). "[ Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
for Jens Christian Skou
Jens Christian Skou
for the discovery of Na(+)-K+ ATPase]". Postepy Biochem. 44 (1): 6–7. PMID 9738232.  Wojtczak, L (1998). "[The Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
for chemistry in 1997--mitochondrial ATP synthase]". Postepy Biochem. 44 (1): 2–5. PMID 9738231.  Clausen, T; Persson A E (May 1998). " Jens Christian Skou
Jens Christian Skou
awarded the Nobel prize in chemistry for the identification of the Na+, K(+)-pump". Acta Physiol. Scand. 163 (1): 1–2. doi:10.1046/j.1365-201x.1998.00367.x. PMID 9648616.  Service, R F (October 1997). "Chemistry prize taps the energy of life". Science. 278 (5338): 579. doi:10.1126/science.278.5338.579. PMID 9381166.  Sejersted, O M (December 1997). "[ Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
in chemistry]". Tidsskr. Nor. Laegeforen. 117 (30): 4359. PMID 9456574.  Skou, J C (1989). "The influence of some cations on an adenosine triphosphatase from peripheral nerves. 1957". Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 1000: 439–46. PMID 2550074.  Skou, J C (1989). "The identification of the sodium-pump as the membrane-bound Na+/K+-ATPase: a commentary on 'The Influence of Some Cations on an Adenosine Triphosphatase from Peripheral Nerves'". Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 1000: 435–8. doi:10.1016/s0006-3002(89)80038-1. PMID 2550073. 

External links[edit]

Nobelprize.org - Autobiography of Jens Christian Skou Nobelprize.org - Jens C. Skou's Nobel Lecture on "The Identification of the Sodium-Potassium Pump"

v t e

Laureates of the Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
in Chemistry


1901 Jacobus van 't Hoff 1902 Emil Fischer 1903 Svante Arrhenius 1904 William Ramsay 1905 Adolf von Baeyer 1906 Henri Moissan 1907 Eduard Buchner 1908 Ernest Rutherford 1909 Wilhelm Ostwald 1910 Otto Wallach 1911 Marie Curie 1912 Victor Grignard
Victor Grignard
/ Paul Sabatier 1913 Alfred Werner 1914 Theodore Richards 1915 Richard Willstätter 1916 1917 1918 Fritz Haber 1919 1920 Walther Nernst 1921 Frederick Soddy 1922 Francis Aston 1923 Fritz Pregl 1924 1925 Richard Zsigmondy


1926 Theodor Svedberg 1927 Heinrich Wieland 1928 Adolf Windaus 1929 Arthur Harden
Arthur Harden
/ Hans von Euler-Chelpin 1930 Hans Fischer 1931 Carl Bosch
Carl Bosch
/ Friedrich Bergius 1932 Irving Langmuir 1933 1934 Harold Urey 1935 Frédéric Joliot-Curie
Frédéric Joliot-Curie
/ Irène Joliot-Curie 1936 Peter Debye 1937 Norman Haworth
Norman Haworth
/ Paul Karrer 1938 Richard Kuhn 1939 Adolf Butenandt
Adolf Butenandt
/ Leopold Ružička 1940 1941 1942 1943 George de Hevesy 1944 Otto Hahn 1945 Artturi Virtanen 1946 James B. Sumner
James B. Sumner
/ John Northrop / Wendell Meredith Stanley 1947 Robert Robinson 1948 Arne Tiselius 1949 William Giauque 1950 Otto Diels
Otto Diels
/ Kurt Alder


1951 Edwin McMillan
Edwin McMillan
/ Glenn T. Seaborg 1952 Archer Martin
Archer Martin
/ Richard Synge 1953 Hermann Staudinger 1954 Linus Pauling 1955 Vincent du Vigneaud 1956 Cyril Hinshelwood / Nikolay Semyonov 1957 Alexander Todd 1958 Frederick Sanger 1959 Jaroslav Heyrovský 1960 Willard Libby 1961 Melvin Calvin 1962 Max Perutz
Max Perutz
/ John Kendrew 1963 Karl Ziegler
Karl Ziegler
/ Giulio Natta 1964 Dorothy Hodgkin 1965 Robert Woodward 1966 Robert S. Mulliken 1967 Manfred Eigen
Manfred Eigen
/ Ronald Norrish / George Porter 1968 Lars Onsager 1969 Derek Barton / Odd Hassel 1970 Luis Federico Leloir 1971 Gerhard Herzberg 1972 Christian B. Anfinsen
Christian B. Anfinsen
/ Stanford Moore / William Stein 1973 Ernst Otto Fischer
Ernst Otto Fischer
/ Geoffrey Wilkinson 1974 Paul Flory 1975 John Cornforth
John Cornforth
/ Vladimir Prelog


1976 William Lipscomb 1977 Ilya Prigogine 1978 Peter D. Mitchell 1979 Herbert C. Brown
Herbert C. Brown
/ Georg Wittig 1980 Paul Berg
Paul Berg
/ Walter Gilbert
Walter Gilbert
/ Frederick Sanger 1981 Kenichi Fukui
Kenichi Fukui
/ Roald Hoffmann 1982 Aaron Klug 1983 Henry Taube 1984 Robert Merrifield 1985 Herbert A. Hauptman
Herbert A. Hauptman
/ Jerome Karle 1986 Dudley R. Herschbach
Dudley R. Herschbach
/ Yuan T. Lee
Yuan T. Lee
/ John Polanyi 1987 Donald J. Cram
Donald J. Cram
/ Jean-Marie Lehn
Jean-Marie Lehn
/ Charles J. Pedersen 1988 Johann Deisenhofer
Johann Deisenhofer
/ Robert Huber
Robert Huber
/ Hartmut Michel 1989 Sidney Altman / Thomas Cech 1990 Elias Corey 1991 Richard R. Ernst 1992 Rudolph A. Marcus 1993 Kary Mullis
Kary Mullis
/ Michael Smith 1994 George Olah 1995 Paul J. Crutzen
Paul J. Crutzen
/ Mario J. Molina
Mario J. Molina
/ Frank Rowland 1996 Robert Curl
Robert Curl
/ Harold Kroto / Richard Smalley 1997 Paul D. Boyer
Paul D. Boyer
/ John E. Walker / Jens Christian Skou 1998 Walter Kohn
Walter Kohn
/ John Pople 1999 Ahmed Zewail 2000 Alan J. Heeger / Alan MacDiarmid / Hideki Shirakawa


2001 William Knowles / Ryoji Noyori / K. Barry Sharpless 2002 John B. Fenn / Koichi Tanaka
Koichi Tanaka
/ Kurt Wüthrich 2003 Peter Agre
Peter Agre
/ Roderick MacKinnon 2004 Aaron Ciechanover
Aaron Ciechanover
/ Avram Hershko
Avram Hershko
/ Irwin Rose 2005 Robert H. Grubbs
Robert H. Grubbs
/ Richard R. Schrock
Richard R. Schrock
/ Yves Chauvin 2006 Roger D. Kornberg 2007 Gerhard Ertl 2008 Osamu Shimomura
Osamu Shimomura
/ Martin Chalfie
Martin Chalfie
/ Roger Y. Tsien 2009 Venkatraman Ramakrishnan
Venkatraman Ramakrishnan
/ Thomas A. Steitz
Thomas A. Steitz
/ Ada E. Yonath 2010 Richard F. Heck
Richard F. Heck
/ Akira Suzuki / Ei-ichi Negishi 2011 Dan Shechtman 2012 Robert Lefkowitz
Robert Lefkowitz
/ Brian Kobilka 2013 Martin Karplus
Martin Karplus
/ Michael Levitt
Michael Levitt
/ Arieh Warshel 2014 Eric Betzig
Eric Betzig
/ Stefan Hell
Stefan Hell
/ William E. Moerner 2015 Tomas Lindahl
Tomas Lindahl
/ Paul L. Modrich
Paul L. Modrich
/ Aziz Sancar 2016 Jean-Pierre Sauvage
Jean-Pierre Sauvage
/ Fraser Stoddart
Fraser Stoddart
/ Ben Feringa 2017 Jacques Dubochet
Jacques Dubochet
/ Joachim Frank
Joachim Frank
/ Richard Henderson

v t e

1997 Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize


Paul D. Boyer
Paul D. Boyer
(United States) John E. Walker (United Kingdom) Jens C. Skou
Jens C. Skou


Dario Fo
Dario Fo


International Campaign to Ban Landmines
International Campaign to Ban Landmines
(Switzerland) Jody Williams
Jody Williams
(United States)


Steven Chu
Steven Chu
(United States) Claude Cohen-Tannoudji
Claude Cohen-Tannoudji
(France) William Daniel Phillips
William Daniel Phillips
(United States)

or Medicine

Stanley B. Prusiner
Stanley B. Prusiner
(United States)

Economic Sciences

Robert C. Merton
Robert C. Merton
(United States) Myron Scholes
Myron Scholes
(Canada/United States)

Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
recipients 1990 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 2000 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 91749242 LCCN: n80033312 ISNI: 0000 0000 6717 3994 GND: 112388250