Jens Christian Skou


Jens Christian Skou

Infobox Scientist
name = Jens Christian Skou
box_width =


image_width =150px
caption = Jens Christian Skou
birth_date = October 8, 1918
birth_place = Lemvig
death_date =
death_place =
residence =
citizenship =
nationality = Danish
ethnicity =
field = biochemistry
work_institutions =
alma_mater =
doctoral_advisor =
doctoral_students =
known_for = Na+,K+-ATPase
author_abbrev_bot =
author_abbrev_zoo =
influences =
influenced =
prizes = 1997, Nobel Prize in Chemistry
religion =
footnotes =

Jens Christian Skou IPA| [⁽ˈ⁾jɛns kʰʁæsd̥jæn ˈsg̊ʌʊ̯ˀ] (born October 8, 1918) is a Danish chemist and Nobel laureate.

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 in 1944 and received his doctorate in 1954. He began working at the University of Aarhus in 1947 and was appointed professor of biophysics in 1977. He retired from the University of Aarhus in 1988, but has kept his offices at the institute.

In 1997 he received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (together with Paul D. Boyer and John E. Walker) for his discovery of Na+,K+-ATPase [http://nobelprize.org/chemistry/laureates/1997/index.html] .

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 moment 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, 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 has not read Skou’s paper but 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.

References

*cite journal
quotes = yes
last=Clausen
first=Torben
authorlink=
year=2007|month=Aug.
title= [J.C. Skou identified Na+,K+-pump--a breakthrough and its significance]
journal=Ugeskr. Laeg.
volume=169
issue=35
pages=2897
publisher = | location = | issn =
pmid = 17878005
bibcode = | oclc =| id = | url = | language = | format = | accessdate = | laysummary = | laysource = | laydate = | quote =

*cite journal
quotes = yes
last=Boldyrev
first=A A
authorlink=
year=2000|month=.
title=Na+,K+-ATPase: 40 years of investigations
journal=Membrane & cell biology
volume=13
issue=6
pages=715–9
publisher = | location = | issn =
pmid = 10963431
bibcode = | oclc =| id = | url = | language = | format = | accessdate = | laysummary = | laysource = | laydate = | quote =

*cite journal
quotes = yes
last=Skou
first=J C
authorlink=
year=1998|month=Aug.
title=Nobel Lecture. The identification of the sodium pump
journal=Biosci. Rep.
volume=18
issue=4
pages=155–69
publisher = | location = | issn =
pmid = 9877230
bibcode = | oclc =| id = | url = | language = | format = | accessdate = | laysummary = | laysource = | laydate = | quote =
doi=10.1023/A:1020196612909

*cite journal
quotes = yes
last=Klodos
first=I
authorlink=
year=1998|month=.
title= [Nobel Prize for Jens Christian Skou for the discovery of Na(+)-K+ ATPase]
journal=Postepy Biochem.
volume=44
issue=1
pages=6–7
publisher = | location = | issn =
pmid = 9738232
bibcode = | oclc =| id = | url = | language = | format = | accessdate = | laysummary = | laysource = | laydate = | quote =

*cite journal
quotes = yes
last=Wojtczak
first=L
authorlink=
year=1998|month=.
title= [The Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1997--mitochondrial ATP synthase]
journal=Postepy Biochem.
volume=44
issue=1
pages=2–5
publisher = | location = | issn =
pmid = 9738231
bibcode = | oclc =| id = | url = | language = | format = | accessdate = | laysummary = | laysource = | laydate = | quote =

*cite journal
quotes = yes
last=Clausen
first=T
authorlink=
coauthors=Persson A E
year=1998|month=May.
title=Jens Christian Skou awarded the Nobel prize in chemistry for the identification of the Na+, K(+)-pump
journal=Acta Physiol. Scand.
volume=163
issue=1
pages=1–2
publisher = | location = | issn =
pmid = 9648616
bibcode = | oclc =| id = | url = | language = | format = | accessdate = | laysummary = | laysource = | laydate = | quote =
doi=10.1046/j.1365-201x.1998.00367.x

*cite journal
quotes = yes
last=Service
first=R F
authorlink=
year=1997|month=Oct.
title=Chemistry prize taps the energy of life
journal=Science
volume=278
issue=5338
pages=579
publisher = | location = | issn =
pmid = 9381166
bibcode = | oclc =| id = | url = | language = | format = | accessdate = | laysummary = | laysource = | laydate = | quote =
doi=10.1126/science.278.5338.579

*cite journal
quotes = yes
last=Sejersted
first=O M
authorlink=
year=1997|month=Dec.
title= [Nobel Prize in chemistry]
journal=Tidsskr. Nor. Laegeforen.
volume=117
issue=30
pages=4359
publisher = | location = | issn =
pmid = 9456574
bibcode = | oclc =| id = | url = | language = | format = | accessdate = | laysummary = | laysource = | laydate = | quote =

*cite journal
quotes = yes
last=Skou
first=J C
authorlink=
year=1989|month=.
title=The influence of some cations on an adenosine triphosphatase from peripheral nerves. 1957
journal=Biochim. Biophys. Acta
volume=1000
issue=
pages=439–46
publisher = | location = | issn =
pmid = 2550074
bibcode = | oclc =| id = | url = | language = | format = | accessdate = | laysummary = | laysource = | laydate = | quote =

*cite journal
quotes = yes
last=Skou
first=J C
authorlink=
year=1989|month=.
title=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'
journal=Biochim. Biophys. Acta
volume=1000
issue=
pages=435–8
publisher = | location = | issn =
pmid = 2550073
bibcode = | oclc =| id = | url = | language = | format = | accessdate = | laysummary = | laysource = | laydate = | quote =

External links

* [http://nobelprize.org/chemistry/laureates/1997/skou-autobio.html Nobelprize.org] - Autobiography of Jens Christian Skou
* [http://nobelprize.org/chemistry/laureates/1997/skou-lecture.html Nobelprize.org] - Jens C. Skou's Nobel Lecture on "The Identification of the Sodium-Potassium Pump"

Persondata
NAME=Skou, Jens Christian
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Danish chemist
DATE OF BIRTH=October 8, 1918
PLACE OF BIRTH=Lemvig, Denmark
DATE OF DEATH=
PLACE OF DEATH=


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