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News Icon Three of the 2012 Nobel Prize Winners are Addgene Depositors

Addgene extends congratulations to three Investigators who are sharing plasmids through the repository. Robert J. Lefkowitz, John B. Gurdon, and Shinya Yamanaka were awarded Nobel Prizes in 2012 for outstanding contributions to scientific and medical research.

2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Addgene depositors John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka for pioneering research that paved the way to discovery of reprogramming mature cells into pluripotent stem cells. Gurdon, in 1962, discovered that nuclei of mature Xenopus cells could be transplanted into egg cells, resulting in the successful growth of tadpoles.1 This work illustrates that the genome of mature cells retains information required for differentiation and, notably, can be coaxed back into a pluripotent state.

Forty years later, Shinya Yamanaka's group in Kyoto resolved the genes necessary to induce fully mature cells back to a pluriopotent state. Following a systematic retroviral transduction process, Yamanaka found 4 genes encoding transcription factors, Oct3/4, Sox2, c-Myc, and Klf4, are necessary and sufficient to create induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.2

Gurdon and Yamanaka's work demonstrates that mature cells can be manipulated into a pluripotent state which can then be differentiated into a variety of cell types. Their work has paved the way for the study of disease progression and therapeutic techniques using patients' own cells. Plasmids deposited by the Gurdon lab and the Yamanaka lab, including those from Yamanaka's 2006 Cell article, are avaible through Addgene.

2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

The 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Addgene depositor Robert J. Lefkowitz of Duke University. This Prize is shared with Brian K. Kobilka of Stanford University School of Medicine for the discovery and characterization of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) function. GPCRs are a family of proteins integral to cellular signalling. Through the isolation, cloning, and sequencing of β-adrenergic receptors (βAR), Lefkowitz and Kobilka determined that GPCRs encompass a wide range of receptors that share a seven transmembrane helical structure and function similarly to transmit signals across the cell membrane.3 Find plasmids deposited by the Lefkowitz lab.


  1. The developmental capacity of nuclei taken from intestinal epithelium cells of feeding tadpoles. Gurdon, J.B. J Embryol Exp Morphol 1962. 10:622-640. Article.

  2. Induction of pluripotent stem cells from mouse embryonic and adult fibroblast cultures by defined factors. Takahashi, K., Yamanaka, S. Cell. 2006. 126:663-676. Article.

  3. Cloning of the gene and cDNA for mammalian beta-adrenergic receptor and homology with rhodopsin. Dixon RA, Kobilka BK, Strader DJ, Benovic JL, Dohlman HG, Frielle T, Bolanowski MA, Bennet CD, Rands E, Diehl RE, Mumford RA, Slater EE, Sigal IS, Caron MG, Lefkowitz RJ, Strader CD. Nature. 1986. 321, 75-79. Article .