The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1964 was awarded jointly to Konrad Bloch and Feodor Lynen “for their discoveries concerning the mechanism and regulation of the cholesterol and fatty acid metabolism”.
Lynen’s research had been focused on the elucidation of the chemical details of metabolic processes in living cells, and of the mechanisms of metabolic regulation. In 1951, he discovered the chemical structure of acetyl-coenzyme A (“activated acetic acid”), which plays a key role in metabolism. Numerous groups, including Fritz Lipmann’s, were working on that problem at the time. Lipmann received the Nobel Prize for his discovery of coenzyme A in 1953.
Feodor Felix Konrad Lynen was born in Munich, Germany, on April 6, 1911. He studied chemistry at the University of Munich starting in 1930, where finished his PhD under Heinrich Wieland, became a chemistry lecturer in 1942, assistant professor in 1947, and biochemistry professor in 1953. In addition, in 1954 he became head of the Max-Planck Institute for Cellular Chemistry. The institute was newly created for him on the initiative of Otto Warburg and Otto Hahn.
In 1972, Professor Lynen was appointed President of the German Chemical Society (Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker, GDCh). Among the Nobel prize and other honors, he received the Neuberg Medal of the American Society of European Chemists and Pharmacists, the Liebig Commemorative Medal of the GDCh, the Carus Medal of the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher «Leopoldina», and the Otto Warburg Medal of the Gesellschaft für Physiologische Chemie.
Lynen died in 1976 and the Feodor Lynen Research Fellowship has since been set up in his name. It is granted by the Humboldt Foundation to up to 150 postdoctoral researchers and experienced researchers annually and promotes international academic cooperation.
Feodor Lynen is the answer to Guess the Chemist (34).
- The role of biotin-dependent carboxylations in biosynthetic reactions,
Biochem. J. 1967, 102, 381–400.
- Enzymes of fatty acid metabolism,
F. Lynen, S. Ochoa,
Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1953, 12, 299–314.
- Zur chemischen Struktur der „aktivierten Essigsäure”,
F. Lynen, Ernestine Reichert,
Angew. Chem. 1951, 63, 47–48.
Also of Interest:
Feodor Lynen: Biographie des Münchner Biochemikers und Nobelpreisträgers,