Prof. Ephraim Katzir holds the Theodore R. Racoosin Chair of Biophysics
Department of Membrane Research and Biophysics, Weizmann Institute of Science,
His research group consists of experimentalists who employ encoded combinatorial peptide libraries expressed on the surface of phage in order to determine peptide-specific binding by selectors, as well as theoreticians involved in the elucidation of the basic principles determining biological specificity.
Katzir prepared the first synthetic polypeptide, poly-L-lysine, and showed that it is digested by trypsin. This work immediately won international recognition and served as a starting point for the synthesis, by him and his many students in Rehovot, of numerous polyamino acids, and the demonstration that they can serve as excellent models for the investigation of the physicochemical and biological properties of native proteins. Thanks to these seminal contributions, Katzir occupies a unique and distinguished position in the field of pro-tein science.
His work on polyamino acids opened the way for the preparation by one of us (M.S.), for the first time, of synthetic antigens and their application in fundamental studies of the chemical basis of antigenicity, as well as for the development of synthetic vaccines.
Katzir’s research on synthetic polyamino acids has led him to other seminal discoveries, e.g., immobilized enzymes. In the late 1950s, he was among the first to prepare a well-characterized insoluble enzyme derivative of high catalytic activity, in which trypsin was conjugated to a synthetic amino acid copolymer.
For this work, Katzir received in 1985 the Japan Prize, one of the most prestigious prizes and honors awarded to him.
Katchalski-Katzir, E. (1993) Recollections - Poly-amino Acids as the Simplest Protein Models: Recollections of a Retired President. Protein Sci. 2: 476-482.
Katchalski-Katzir, E. (1993) Immobilized Ensymes - Larning from Past Successes and failures. Trends in Biotechnol. 11: 471-478.
Balass, M., Heldman Y., Cabilly S., Givol, D., Katchalski-Katzir E., Fuchs S. (1993) Identification of a hexapeptide that mimics a conformation-dependent binding site of acetylcholine receptor by use of a phage-epitope library. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci USA, 90: 10638-10642.
Yayon, A., Aviezer, D., Safran, M., Janet L. Gross, Y., Heldman, S., Cabilly, D., Givol, D. and Katchalski-Katzir, E. (1993) Isolation of peptides that inhibit binding of basic fibroblast growth factor to its receptor from a random phage-epitope library. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 90: 10643-10647.
Lancet, D., Horovitz, A. and Katchalski-Katzir, E. (1994) Molecular Recognition in Biology: Models for Analysis of Protein-Ligand Interaction. In Lock and Key Principle, Edited by J.-P. Behr, John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Barchan, D., Balass, M., Souroujon, M.C.,Katchalski-Katzir, E. and Fuchs, S. (1995) Identification of Epitopes Within a Highly Immunogenic Region of Acetylcholine Receptor by a Phage Epitope Library. J. Immunol. 4264-69.
Natarajan Venkatesh, Sin-Heyong Im, Moshe Balass, Sara Fuchs and Ephraim Katchalski-Katzir (2000) Prevention of passively transferred experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis by a phage library-derived cyclic peptide. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 97/2 p. 761-766
S. Moshitch-Moshkovitz, Y. Heldman, A. Yayon, E. Katchalski-Katzir (2000) Sorting polyclonal antibodies into functionally distinct fractions using peptide phage display. J. of Immunological Methods, 242 183-191
Ephraim Katchalski-Katzir, Dieter M. Kraemer (2000) Eupergit C, a carrier for immobilization of enzymes of industrial potential. J. of Mol. Catalysis B: Enzymatic 10, 157-176
M. Balass, E. Kalef, S. Fuchs, E. Katchalski-Katzir (2001) A cyclic peptide with high affinity to a-bungarotoxin protects mice from the lethal effect of the toxin. Toxicon 39(7):1045-1051
Roni Kasher, Moshe Balass, Tali Scherf, Mati Fridkin, Sara Fuchs & Ephraim Katchalski-Katzir (2001) Design and Synthesis of Peptides that bind a-bungarotoxin with high affinity" Chemistry & Biology 8(2):147-155
Scherf T., Kasher R., Balass M., Fridkin M., Fuchs S & Katchalski-Katzir E. (2001) A b-hairpin structure in a 13-mer peptide that binds a- Bungarotoxin with high affinity and neutralizes its toxicity. Proc. of Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) June 5, 98, No. 12, pp 6629-6634
Maya R., Balass M., Kim ST., Buschmann T., Martinex Leal JF., Shifman O., Shkedy D., Shiloh Y., Ronai Z., Kastan MB., Katchalski-Katzir E., and Oren M. ATM-dependent phosphorylation of Mdm2 on serine 395: role in p53 activation by DNA damage. Gene and Development (2001) 15 (9) pp 1067-1077