The Royal Society

Supplementary material from "SIR MICHAEL JOHN BERRIDGE. 22 October 1938 — 13 February 2020"

Posted on 2024-02-09 - 20:08
Sir Michael Berridge was a giant in the fields of physiology and biochemistry who, by his discovery in 1983 of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3) as the ubiquitous intracellular messenger releasing Ca2+ from intracellular stores, revolutionized our concepts of signal transduction mechanisms. Mike, as he was universally known, discovered one of the most important regulatory mechanisms in animal cells, involved in the control of virtually all bodily functions, including secretion, contraction and memory. Mike, working at the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge, personally identified IP3 as one of the two initial products of hormone- or neurotransmitter-elicited inositol phospholipid breakdown and then, in collaboration with the research group led by Irene Schulz at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysics in Frankfurt, demonstrated directly the Ca2+-releasing effect of IP3 in pancreatic acinar cells. Subsequently, in collaborations with research groups in Switzerland and the USA, Mike confirmed the Ca2 + -releasing action of IP3 in insulin-secreting cells, hepatocytes and photoreceptors. The IP3–Ca2 + -releasing pathway became accepted amazingly quickly as one of the key elements of cellular signal transduction mechanisms and is now featured in virtually all textbooks of physiology and biochemistry. Mike was also a great synthesizer, who created an entirely new field, namely calcium signalling. Through his numerous, highly cited review articles, and his insightful keynote lectures at the most important biomedical congresses, he dominated this large and increasingly important research field for more than 30 years following his momentous 1983 discovery.


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