In this response to an inquiry made by Libby Anfinsen, Kelly shared some of his fond memories of her husband and related some
recent developments in the research on thermophilic bacteria. He enclosed with this letter a copy of the preface that opened
the forty-eighth volume of "Advances in Protein Chemistry" that was dedicated to Christian Anfinsen.
Number of Image Pages:
2 (121,065 Bytes)
1997-01-17 (January 17, 1997)
Kelly, Robert M.
Reproduced with permission of Robert M. Kelly.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Enzymes and Proteins from Hyperthermophilic Microorganisms (1997)
Thank you for your letter and your interest. Your note stirred up a lot of memories of my involvement with Chris during my
days at Hopkins and, to some extent, afterwards. I was stunned when I heard that Chris had passed away because he always seemed
so ageless to me. He had an incredible amount of energy and interest in his work, so much so that us "younger guys"
had trouble keeping up with him! I always had a great deal of admiration and respect for Chris, not only for all his accomplishments,
but for the modesty he displayed and the respect he showed to anyone who sought his help - colleagues and students; young
and old. Chris served as an inspiration in the early days of my career and provided encouragement as I headed into the study
of hyperthermophilic microorganisms, which then was a very controversial subject. Chris's interest helped provide the
needed credibility to the area and made others sit up and take notice. I am not sure he was given much credit for this, but
those of us around at the time were well aware of this contribution.
Much has happened in recent years with these microorganisms and the article you saw in C&EN was an attempt by Mike Adams
and myself to summarize progress and understanding. In the past few years, interest level in this field has picked up considerably
and there have been many articles written extolling the possibilities that hyperthermophiles represent. For example, there
will be an article in the Feb or March issue of the "World & I" magazine on this subject. I am sure you are aware
of Advances in Protein Chemistry Volume 48 which is devoted to this subject, edited by Mike Adams and dedicated to Chris -
I have enclosed a copy of the Preface in case you missed it. Mike Adams and I have been asked to edit a Methods in Enzymology
volume on hyperthermophilic enzymes which we are starting to plan. It hard to believe that the field has gotten to the point
where such a volume is warranted. The recent meeting on Thermophiles '96 held at the University of Georgia attracted hundreds
of scientists from all the world.
I have a number of our recent technical articles to send if you would like. But, let
me just say that, among other basic science issues, we are trying to find ways to use these enzymes for a number of applications.
Also, Karl Stetter, Mike Adams and I all advise a company (Recombinant BioCatalysis, Inc., La Jolla, CA) that has looked to
commercialize hyperthermophilic enzymes. So you see, things have gone beyond the basic science standpoint.
I have enclosed some articles on our efforts and hope that these provide some
information for you. Also, my best wishes for a healthy and happy 1997.