Israel Hanukoglu

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Israel Hanukoglu
Born Istanbul, Turkey
Nationality Israeli
Fields Biochemistry, molecular biology
Institutions Ariel University
Alma mater Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Thesis Mechanism of electron transport to cytochrome P-450 in adrenal cortex mitochondrial monooxygenase systems (1980)
Doctoral advisor Colin Jefcoate
Other academic advisors Neal L. First, David Nelson, W.W. Cleland
Known for Keratin structure, steroidogenic enzymes, Epithelial sodium channels
Notable awards Lindner Prize

Israel Hanukoglu is a Turkish-born Israeli scientist. He is a full professor of biochemistry and molecular biology[1] at Ariel University[2] and former Science and Technology Adviser to the Prime Minister of Israel (1996–1999). He is founder of Israel Science and Technology Homepage.[3]


Israel Hanukoglu received his undergraduate degree cum laude with double majors in biology and psychology and a minor in political science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He then went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for graduate studies and received his M.Sc. degree in 1976 in Endocrinology-reproductive physiology. His Ph.D. thesis was on the "Mechanism of electron transport to cytochrome P-450 in adrenal cortex mitochondrial steroid monooxygenase systems" under the supervision of Colin R. Jefcoate.

Contributions to science[edit]

Hanukoglu was awarded the first Hans Lindner Prize[4] (1988) of the Israel Endocrine Society, and Lubell Award [5] (1991) of the Weizmann Institute of Science for his elucidation of the structures of NAD/NADP coenzyme binding enzyme families, and his discovery of common NADP binding motifs in the structure of these enzymes.[6] The importance of the motifs he identified was confirmed by re-engineering of coenzyme specificities of enzymes.[7]

Hanukoglu's career in molecular biology started at the Department of Biochemistry of the University of Chicago (1980-1983 with Elaine Fuchs), where he cloned and sequenced cDNAs coding for cytoskeleton proteins, actin and alpha keratins. He elucidated the first structures of cytoskeletal keratin families, and predicted the long helical domains of these proteins.[8][9] By computerized analysis of amino acid sequences he predicted that the central rod domain of intermediate filament proteins is composed of four helical segments separated by three short linker sequences.[9] Later crystallographic studies have confirmed this as a general model for intermediate filament protein structure.[10]

In later studies he applied molecular biology techniques to understand the structure and function of mitochondrial enzymes involved in steroid hormone biosynthesis. He cloned the first gene for adrenodoxin reductase, the electron transfer protein of the mitochondrial P450 systems.[6][11][12] This enzyme directs electrons from NADPH to P450scc that is the cholesterol side-chain cleavage enzyme that catalyzes the regulatory step of steroid hormone synthesis in all steroidogenic tissues, and also to steroid 11-beta-hydroxylase (P450c11β) in the adrenal cortex.[12]

His award winning research on the structure of adrenodoxin reductase led to his discovery of motifs that are commonly observed in hundreds of enzymes.[6] His other work in this field includes elucidation of the mechanism of action of hormones in regulating steroid hormone synthesis in adrenal cortex,[13] and the cloning and elucidation of the structure of ACTH receptor.[14]

In his current work with his brother Prof. Aaron Hanukoglu (Tel Aviv University, Sackler Medical School and Wolfson Hospital), he studies the molecular genetics and structure and function of epithelial sodium channel (ENaC). They were the first to identify that mutations in ENaC subunits result in the hereditary disease of pseudohypoaldosteronism type I.[15][16][17][18] These studies also helped establish that ENaC is the principal channel involved in blood volume and blood pressure regulation in humans.

In recent research, Hanukoglu's laboratory has generated polyclonal antibodies against extracellular ENaC subunits. These antibodies for the first time permitted visualization of intracellular localization of ENaC at high resolution and led to the discovery that in all cells with motile cilia ENaC is located on cilia.[19] These studies establish that ENaC is an important regulator of fluid level in the luminal side of cells with motile cilia in the reproductive and respiratory tract.[19]

He organized the first International Symposium in Molecular Steroidogenesis in Jerusalem in 1991 which served as the cornerstone for a continuing series of international Symposia gathering scientists who specialize in this field.[20]

In 2003 Hanukoglu founded Israel's first Molecular Biology B.Sc. degree program in the Ariel University Center of Samaria[21] and served as the Chairman of the Molecular Biology Department there from 2003 to 2008.[22]

Civic activities[edit]

Besides a scientific career Hanukoglu has maintained an active academic and civic leadership role. In 1995 he was elected as the Chairman of the Professors for a Strong Israel, a self-described "non-partisan organization of academics united by a shared concern for the security and the Jewish character of the State of Israel." From 1996 to 1999 he served as the Science Adviser to the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu. In 2003 he was appointed as the scientific adviser to the Mayor of Rishon-Lezion for establishing the Jewish Nobel Prize Laureate Boulevard Outdoor Museum. Since 1996 he has served as a founding member of the Ariel Center for Policy Research executive board.[22]

Hanukoglu contested the 2003 Knesset elections as the tenth-placed candidate on the Herut – The National Movement list.[23] However, the party failed to win a seat.


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  6. ^ a b c Hanukoglu, I.; Gutfinger, T. (Mar 1989). "cDNA sequence of adrenodoxin reductase. Identification of NADP-binding sites in oxidoreductases.". Eur J Biochem 180 (2): 479–84. doi:10.1111/j.1432-1033.1989.tb14671.x. PMID 2924777. 
  7. ^ Scrutton NS, Berry A, Perham RN (Jan 1990). "Redesign of the coenzyme specificity of a dehydrogenase by protein engineering". Nature 343 (6253): 38–43. doi:10.1038/343038a0. PMID 2296288. 
  8. ^ Hanukoglu I, Fuchs E (Nov 1982). "The cDNA sequence of a human epidermal keratin: divergence of sequence but conservation of structure among intermediate filament proteins". Cell 31 (1): 243–52. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(82)90424-X. PMID 6186381. 
  9. ^ a b Hanukoglu I, Fuchs E (Jul 1983). "The cDNA sequence of a Type II cytoskeletal keratin reveals constant and variable structural domains among keratins". Cell 33 (3): 915–24. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(83)90034-X. PMID 6191871. 
  10. ^ Lee CH, Kim MS, Chung BM, Leahy DJ, Coulombe PA (Jul 2012). "Structural basis for heteromeric assembly and perinuclear organization of keratin filaments". Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 19 (7): 707–15. doi:10.1038/nsmb.2330. PMID 22705788. 
  11. ^ Hanukoglu I, Gutfinger T, Haniu M, Shively JE (Dec 1987). "Isolation of a cDNA for adrenodoxin reductase (ferredoxin-NADP+ reductase). Implications for mitochondrial cytochrome P-450 systems". European Journal of Biochemistry / FEBS 169 (3): 449–55. doi:10.1111/j.1432-1033.1987.tb13632.x. PMID 3691502. 
  12. ^ a b Hanukoglu I (Dec 1992). "Steroidogenic enzymes: structure, function, and role in regulation of steroid hormone biosynthesis". The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 43 (8): 779–804. doi:10.1016/0960-0760(92)90307-5. PMID 22217824. 
  13. ^ Hanukoglu I, Feuchtwanger R, Hanukoglu A (Nov 1990). "Mechanism of corticotropin and cAMP induction of mitochondrial cytochrome P450 system enzymes in adrenal cortex cells" (PDF). The Journal of Biological Chemistry 265 (33): 20602–8. PMID 2173715. 
  14. ^ Raikhinstein, M.; Zohar, M.; Hanukoglu, I. (Feb 1994). "cDNA cloning and sequence analysis of the bovine adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) receptor.". Biochim Biophys Acta 1220 (3): 329–32. doi:10.1016/0167-4889(94)90157-0. PMID 8305507. 
  15. ^ Strautnieks SS, Thompson RJ, Hanukoglu A, Dillon MJ, Hanukoglu I, Kuhnle U, Seckl J, Gardiner RM, Chung E (Feb 1996). "Localisation of pseudohypoaldosteronism genes to chromosome 16p12.2-13.11 and 12p13.1-pter by homozygosity mapping". Human Molecular Genetics 5 (2): 293–9. doi:10.1093/hmg/5.2.293. PMID 8824886. 
  16. ^ Chang SS, Grunder S, Hanukoglu A, Rösler A, Mathew PM, Hanukoglu I, Schild L, Lu Y, Shimkets RA, Nelson-Williams C, Rossier BC, Lifton RP (Mar 1996). "Mutations in subunits of the epithelial sodium channel cause salt wasting with hyperkalaemic acidosis, pseudohypoaldosteronism type 1". Nature Genetics 12 (3): 248–53. doi:10.1038/ng0396-248. PMID 8589714. 
  17. ^ Saxena A, Hanukoglu I, Saxena D, Thompson RJ, Gardiner RM, Hanukoglu A (Jul 2002). "Novel mutations responsible for autosomal recessive multisystem pseudohypoaldosteronism and sequence variants in epithelial sodium channel alpha-, beta-, and gamma-subunit genes". The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 87 (7): 3344–50. doi:10.1210/jc.87.7.3344. PMID 12107247. 
  18. ^ Edelheit O, Hanukoglu I, Gizewska M, Kandemir N, Tenenbaum-Rakover Y, Yurdakök M, Zajaczek S, Hanukoglu A (May 2005). "Novel mutations in epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) subunit genes and phenotypic expression of multisystem pseudohypoaldosteronism". Clinical Endocrinology 62 (5): 547–53. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2265.2005.02255.x. PMID 15853823. 
  19. ^ a b Enuka Y, Hanukoglu I, Edelheit O, Vaknine H, Hanukoglu A (Mar 2012). "Epithelial sodium channels (ENaC) are uniformly distributed on motile cilia in the oviduct and the respiratory airways". Histochemistry and Cell Biology 137 (3): 339–53. doi:10.1007/s00418-011-0904-1. PMID 22207244. 
  20. ^ Hanukoglu, I. (Dec 1992). "Current research on steroid metabolism: transition from biochemistry to molecular-cell biology.". J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol 43 (8): 745–9. doi:10.1016/0960-0760(92)90304-2. PMID 22217821. 
  21. ^ Israel Hanukoglu. Brief Biography
  22. ^ a b Israel Hanukoglu. Curriculum Vitae
  23. ^ Candidates for the 16th Knesset Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

External links[edit]