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The Oswald T. Avery Collection

Letter from Oswald T. Avery to Joshua Lederberg Annotation pdf (42,357 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Oswald T. Avery to Joshua Lederberg
In this response to a request, Avery informed Lederberg that neither he nor Walther Goebel retained any quantity of p-nitrophenol galactoside from their 1929 study. Avery enclosed with this letter a reprint of a 1934 article by Goebel and F. H. Babers that outlined a method for its synthesis. Enclosed article is not in the collection.
Item is a photocopy.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (42,357 Bytes)
1948-01-20 (January 20, 1948)
Avery, Oswald T.
Lederberg, Joshua
Courtesy of Joshua Lederberg.
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Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Equipment and Supplies
Exhibit Categories:
The "Sugar-Coated Microbe" and the Search for a Cure for Pneumonia, 1919-1929
Transduction, Plasmids, and the Foundation of Biotechnology
Metadata Record Letter from Joshua Lederberg to Oswald T. Avery (January 15, 1948) pdf (101,718 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Box Number: 1
Folder Number: 2
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Personal and Biographical, 1931-2000
Folder: Additional Materials Relating to O.T. Avery, 1931-1948, 1960-1972, 1987-1999
January 20, 1948
Dear Dr. Lederberg:
Your letter of January 15th has just been received. In accordance with your request I have conferred with Dr. Goebel. Unfortunately he finds no p-nitrophenol galactoside remaining in his collection. At his suggestion I am enclosing herewith a reprint from the J. B. C., 105, 1934, outlining the method for its synthesis which he has found better and more successful than that described in the J. E. M., 1929.
I am interested in your problem and regret that we have none of the original preparation available.
Yours sincerely,
Oswald T. Avery, M. D.
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Annotation by Joshua Lederberg:
JL: Comment 1/30/99:
Although O. T. Avery had a cardinal role of intellectual influence on my
life, I had almost no personal contact with him.  Supra is the only item
of correspondence; and I did call on him ca. 1946-47 -- perhaps there will
be some record of that in my correspondence with Harriett  Taylor, who was
working with him at the time.

The literature reference is:

Goebel WF; Avery OT
Chemo-immunological studies on conjugated carbohydrate-proteins.  1. The
synthesis of p-aminophenol beta-glucoside, p-aminophenol beta-galactoside,
and their coupling with serum globulin.  Journal of Experimental Medicine
50: 521-531  1929
This has to do with my quest for chromogenic substrates to be used in the
assay of B-galactosidase, in particular for the nitrophenyl galactoside. 
This was an intermediate in the synthesis of the aminophenyl compounds
used in the Avery/Goebel and Landsteiner immunochemical studies.  Somewhat
later, I elicited the interest of Karl Paul Link at Wisconsin, and his
student Martin Seidman worked out an excellent synthesis.  See P-21.