Altman , Sidney
(1939– American chemist
Born in Montreal, Canada, Altman was educated at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he obtained his PhD in 1967. He moved to Yale in 1971, becoming professor of biology in 1980 and a naturalized US citizen in 1984.
In 1982 Thomas Cech at Colorado had shown that RNA sometimes served as a biocatalyst – a role previously thought to be exclusive to protein enzymes. Cech's work was on a reaction in which the RNA was a self-catalyst. Altman set out to investigate other catalytic activity of RNA.
He worked with ribonuclease-P, an enzyme composed of both RNA and a protein, which catalyzes the processing of transfer RNA (tRNA). For the enzyme to work at the cellular level, it was thought that both protein and RNA were needed. It could, however, be possible that the RNA was merely a kind of structural support for the protein enzyme. Altman found that, in vitro, ribonuclease-P alone could splice the tRNA molecule at the correct place; the unaccompanied protein displayed no such activity.
Final proof came when a recombinant DNA template was used to produce only the RNA part of the ribonuclease-P. The artificial RNA still catalyzed the appropriate activity without any associated protein whatsoever. Altman had thus helped to break down the previously unquestioned dogma that molecules could either carry information, like RNA, or catalyze chemical reactions, like proteins, but they could not do both. The discovery could also throw light on the puzzle that if proteins are needed to assemble RNA, and RNA to assemble proteins, then how did the process ever get started? The answer could lie in the catalytic activity of RNA itself.
For his work on ribonuclease-P Altman shared the 1989 Nobel Prize for chemistry with Thomas Cech.

Scientists. . 2011.

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  • ALTMAN, SIDNEY — (1939– ), research biologist and educator. Altman, born in Montreal, Canada, received his doctorate in biophysics from the University of Colorado in 1967. He joined the department of biology at Yale University in 1971, becoming a professor in… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Altman,Sidney — Altman, Sidney. Born 1939. Canadian born American biologist who shared a 1989 Nobel Prize in chemistry for discoveries concerning the catalytic properties of RNA. * * * …   Universalium

  • Altman, Sidney — born May 7, 1939, Montreal, Que., Can. Canadian born U.S. molecular biologist. He studied at MIT and the University of Colorado and has taught at Yale University since 1971. Working independently, Altman and Thomas Cech discovered that RNA,… …   Universalium

  • Altman, Sidney — (n. 7 may. 1939, Montreal, Quebec, Canadá). Biólogo molecular estadounidense de origen canadiense. Estudió en el MIT y en la Universidad de Colorado, y enseña en la Universidad de Yale desde 1971. Trabajando por separado, Altman y Thomas Cech… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Altman — Sidney …   Scientists

  • Sidney — Sidney, Algernon Sidney, Philip (Sydney) ► C. del SE de Australia, cap. del estado de Nueva Gales del Sur, abierta al océano Pacífico, primera ciudad del país; 3 538 970 h. Dos grandes puentes unen la c. con la orilla N de la bahía. Puerto… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Sidney Altman — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Altman. Sidney Altman (1939 à Montréal ) est un biochimiste américain d origine canadienne. Il est colauréat avec Thomas Robert Cech du prix Nobel de chimie de 1989 pour « la découverte des propriétés… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sidney — /sid nee/, n. 1. Sir Philip, 1554 86, English poet, writer, statesman, and soldier. 2. a city in N Ohio. 17,657. 3. a male or female given name: a family name taken from a French placename, Saint Denis. Also, Sydney (for defs. 1, 3). * * * (as… …   Universalium

  • Altman — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Benjamin Altman (1840–1913), US amerikanischer Kaufmann und Kunstsammler Dennis Altman (* 1943), australischer Politikwissenschaftler Ernst Altman (* 19. Jahrhundert; † 1916), deutscher Schachkomponist… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sidney Altman — Nacimiento 7 de mayo de 1933 Montreal, Canadá Nacionalidad Canadiense Campo …   Wikipedia Español

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