Rodney R. Porter

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Rodney Robert Parker

Rodney Robert Porter (born October 8, 1917 in Newton-le-Willows , Lancashire , England , † September 7, 1985 in Winchester , Hampshire , England) was a British biochemist , Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) and Nobel Prize winner for chemistry Structure elucidation of the antibodies.


Rodney R. Porter studied biochemistry at the University of Liverpool and graduated in 1939 with a Bachelor of Science. In 1948 he was awarded a doctorate from the University of Cambridge . His doctoral supervisor was the two-time Nobel Prize winner Frederick Sanger . Porter worked from 1949 to 1960 at the National Institute for Medical Research in Mill Hill, before becoming a professor of immunology at the St. Mary's Hospital went Medical School in London. In 1967 he became Whitley Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Oxford . In 1972 he received together with Gerald M. Edelmanthe Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for their discoveries regarding the chemical structure of antibodies”. Further awards were the Gairdner Foundation International Award in 1966 and, after being elected as a member ("Fellow") of the Royal Society in 1964, the Royal Medal (1973) and the Copley Medal (1983). He was also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (since 1968), the National Academy of Sciences (since 1972) and the Royal Society of Edinburgh (since 1976).

Porter died in a car accident near Winchester in 1985 . Porter had five children with his wife.


The four polypeptide chains form an antibody. The disulfide bonds between the fragments are marked in red.

Although antibodies were known to be made of proteins , there was no knowledge of their exact structure. Porter originally assumed that antibodies consist of a single peptide chain.

In 1958 and 1959, it was shown that the enzyme papain could cut a rabbit's antibodies into three parts. One of the three parts crystallizes, which Porter initially attributed to an artifact . Around the same time, Gerald Edelman discovered that in human antibodies, several peptide chains are linked by disulfide bridges .

After this discovery, Porter used the already known reduction of the disulfide bonds and received four antibody fragments, two of which weighed around 20,000 u each and the other two weighed 50,000 u each . After further analysis, Porter postulated the chemical structure of the antibodies.

Individual evidence

  1. Perry, SV (1987). Rodney Robert Porter. 8 October 1917-6 September 1985 . Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 33: 444-426. PMID 11621436 .
  2. Johnstone, AP; Kerr, MA; Turner, MW (1985). Rodney Robert Porter (1917-1985) . Journal of Immunological Methods 85 (1): 1-4. PMID 3908556 .
  3. Steiner, LA (1985). Rodney Robert Porter (1917-1985) . Nature 317 (6036): 383. PMID 3900741 .
  4. ^ Fellows Directory. Biographical Index: Former RSE Fellows 1783–2002. (PDF file) Royal Society of Edinburgh, accessed March 31, 2020 .
  5. Information from the Nobel Foundation on the award ceremony in 1972 to Rodney R. Porter (English)
  6. ^ R. Porter: Structural Studies of Immunoglobulins , December 12, 1972, accessed on September 11, 2013.

further reading

  • RA Kyle, shampoo MA: RR Porter-the four-chain structure of immunoglobulin G . In: Mayo Clin. Proc. . 75, No. 11, November 2000, p. 1110. PMID 11075737 .
  • Proceedings of the International Symposium on "The role and significance of international cooperation in the biomedical sciences." Dedicated to the memory of Dr. Rodney R. Porter. Washington, DC, September 21-23, 1983 . In: Perspect. Biol. Med. . 29, No. 3 Pt 2, pp. S1-229. PMID 3523420 .
  • PA Small: Rod Porter: his gifts to a young scientist . In: Biosci. Rep. . 5, No. 10-11, pp. 969-71. doi : 10.1007 / BF01119909 . PMID 3913473 .
  • CA Pasternak: Rodney Robert Porter . In: Biosci. Rep. . 5, No. 10-11, pp. 809-13. doi : 10.1007 / BF01119892 . PMID 3913470 .
  • Pasternak, Charles A .: Special issue in memory of Rodney Porter . In: Biosci. Rep. . 5, No. 10-11, pp. 809-1014. PMID 3913469 .
  • Gisela Baumgart: Porter, Rodney Robert. In: Werner E. Gerabek , Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil , Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , p. 1176 f.