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The Michael Heidelberger Papers

Letter from A. D. Hershey to Michael Heidelberger pdf (55,721 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from A. D. Hershey to Michael Heidelberger
In this letter Hershey replied to Heidelberger's critical comments regarding Hershey's efforts to use bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria, to study the kinetics--the rate and mechanisms--of immune reactions. Hershey also discussed emerging conceptions of antibody heterogeneity, the idea that the multiple chemical bonds established by multivalent antibodies with two or more antigens are formed at different rates.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (55,721 Bytes)
1941-05-01 (May 1, 1941)
Hershey, A. D.
Washington University School of Medicine
Heidelberger, Michael
Courtesy of Michael Heidelberger.
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Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Antigen-Antibody Reactions
Exhibit Category:
Antigens and Antibodies: Heidelberger and The Rise of Quantitative Immunochemistry, 1928-1954
Metadata Record Letter from A. D. Hershey to Michael Heidelberger [10 April 1941] pdf (25,327 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Metadata Record Letter from Michael Heidelberger to A. D. Hershey (April 28, 1941) pdf (160,496 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Box Number: 3
Folder Number: 3
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Folder: MS C 245 (first finding aid)
May 1, 1941.
Dear Doctor Heidelberger:
Thank you very much for the care you have taken in criticism of my treatment of the kinetics of antigen-antibody reactions. Needless to say this is exactly what I hoped you would do.
I would scarcely care to defend our rate measurements at the present time, but on the other hand I do not feel that our results are incompatible with yours.
So far as heterogeneity of antibody is concerned, I should have been more explicit in the statement of my conclusion. This was not intended to imply that the antibody fractions of different reactivity, which you have demonstrated, may not also differ in reaction rate and accordingly introduce an uncertain error. Rather, I was considering the possibility that different antibody molecules might be directed toward distinctly different determinant groups which, if it exists, should introduce an enormous steric factor into the reaction rate. This would be the kind of "heterogeneity" under discussion between Landsteiner (J. Exp. Med., 1936, 63, 325) and Hooker and Boyd (J. Immunol., 1936, 30, 41). Obviously any decision concerning this based on reaction rates would be of the crudest kind.
Thank you again, and you may be sure your suggestions will be put to use in future experiments.
Very sincerely yours,
A. D. Hershey
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