François Jacob, who won the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on the genetic control of enzymes, has died, the Los Angeles Times reports. He was 92. Jacob worked with Jacques Monod and André Lwoff at the Pasteur Institute in Paris where they studied how the genes were translated to become proteins in the cell, uncovering messenger RNA and regulatory genes that control expression. Jacob and Monod also studied the lac operon in Escherichia coli, which usually eats glucose, but can survive on lactosewith the help of three enzymes.
"Through an elegant series of experiments, the researchers showed that the genes that serve as the blueprints for those three enzymes are each accompanied by another gene called the operator," the LA Times writes. "In this system, glucose acts as a repressor, binding to the operator and physically preventing the blueprint gene from being copied into messenger RNA."
Jacob, Monod, and Lwoff shared the Nobel, and in their introduction, Sven Gard from the Karolinska Institutet said they "opened up a field of research which in the truest sense of the word can be described as molecular biology."