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The Michael Heidelberger Papers

Title:
Letter from Joshua Lederberg to Michael Heidelberger pdf (60,173 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Joshua Lederberg to Michael Heidelberger
Description:
In this exchange between Heidelberger and the molecular geneticist Joshua Lederberg, the two agree on the need to elucidate in detail the chemical composition and three-dimensional structure of pneumococcal and other antigenic polysaccharides, a need Heidelberger was addressing at the time through his examination of immunological cross-reactions. Such cross-reactions, in which antigens react with certain non-homologous antibodies (antibodies formed against another antigen with which the first antigen shares closely-related or identical antigenic determinants, a site on the surface of an antigen molecule to which a single antibody binds), told organic chemists like Heidelberger much about the arrangement of the sugars in the repeating chemical units of polysaccharides, which in turn determined their immunological properties.
In this exchange between Heidelberger and the molecular geneticist Joshua Lederberg, the two agree on the need to elucidate in detail the chemical composition and three-dimensional structure of pneumococcal and other antigenic polysaccharides, a need Heidelberger was addressing at the time through his examination of immunological cross-reactions. Such cross-reactions, in which antigens react with certain non-homologous antibodies (antibodies formed against another antigen with which the first antigen shares closely-related or identical antigenic determinants, a site on the surface of an antigen molecule to which a single antibody binds), told organic chemists like Heidelberger much about the arrangement of the sugars in the repeating chemical units of polysaccharides, which in turn determined their immunological properties.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (60,173 Bytes)
Date:
1956-11-12 (November 12, 1956)
Creator:
Lederberg, Joshua
Recipient:
Heidelberger, Michael
Rights:
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Subject:
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Polysaccharides
Molecular Structure
Exhibit Category:
"If I Have a Few More Years to Work, I'm Going Ahead": An Active Retirement, 1954-1991
Relation:
Metadata Record Letter from Michael Heidelberger to Joshua Lederberg (November 28, 1956) pdf (71,680 Bytes) ocr (1,348 Bytes)
/ps/access/DHBBMM.pdf
Metadata Record Letter from Joshua Lederberg to Michael Heidelberger (November 30, 1956) pdf (80,851 Bytes) transcript of pdf
/ps/access/DHBBMN.pdf
Box Number: 4
Folder Number: 1
Unique Identifier:
DHBBML
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Language:
English
Format:
application/pdf
image/tif
Physical Condition:
Good
Folder: MS C 245 (first finding aid)
Transcript:
November 12, 1956
Dear Dr. Heidelberger:
While writing a review on recombination genetics, I have been catching up on old reading, and am struck by my inability to find much recent work on the structure of the pneumococcal capsular polysaccharides. Am I right in thinking that type III is the only one for which a reasonably detailed structure can be written (after Reeves & Goebel)? Or have I overlooked equally pertinent studies on the composition and linkages of other types? I hope so, and that you can refer me to more recent accounts of this field. Now that this experimental basis for genetic studies on the determination of these substances is so well established, it seems to me a pity that the structural and biosynthetic aspects have lost the primacy of interest that they engaged some years ago. As far as I can tell, no one seems to have a clue as to the immediate precursors, though I suppose someone will come up soon with another uridine-disphospho-conjugate!
Your help on this matter would be greatly appreciated.
If I can ask another question, Zamenhof has reported in the structure of some of the Hemophilus polysaccharides as poly-ribophosphates askin to apurinic acids: is there any reason to dispute his claims?
With best regards,
Yours sincerely,
Joshua Lederberg
Professor of Genetics
Metadata Last Modified Date:
2010-07-12
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