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The Rosalind Franklin Papers

Letter from James D. Watson to Rosalind Franklin pdf (43,440 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from James D. Watson to Rosalind Franklin
Franklin's relations with both Watson and Crick improved greatly once she moved from King's College to Birkbeck College, and she was in regular contact with both as she worked on the structure of TMV. In this letter, Watson sent Franklin news of recent TMV work at Berkeley, and Don Caspar's calculations of the TMV protein density. Caspar would go to work with Franklin later that year.
Item is handwritten.
Number of Image Pages:
2 (43,440 Bytes)
1955-02-28 (February 28, 1955)
Watson, James D.
California Institute of Technology. Kerckhoff Laboratories of Biology
Franklin, Rosalind
Original Repository: Churchill Archives Centre. The Papers of Rosalind Franklin
Reproduced with permission of James D. Watson.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Tobacco Mosaic Virus
Exhibit Category:
Envisioning Viruses: Birkbeck College, London, 1953-1958
Folder Number:
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Series: Work on Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV)
Folder: Correspondence Regarding Franklin's Research, 1953-1958
February 28, 1955
Dear Rosalind
I have recently returned from Berkeley and the Virus Laboratory. While I was there, I saw some very pretty Electron Micrographs taken by Roger Hart, a student of Robley Williams. They definitely establish that the RNA forms a central core of diameter 30 angstroms and 50 angstroms. What they do is look at TMV particles which have been partially degraded by treatment with dodecyl sulfate for several minutes at 85 degrees. After treatment many particles look like [diagram] or [diagram], while if a ribonuclease treatment follows the heat-detergent, the protruding fibers disappear and the degraded rods look like [diagram] or [diagram]. To complete the story they have micrographs of X-protein (polymerized) which occassionally [sic] show end on sections of the following appearance [diagram].
At the same time Don Caspar has been calculating Fouriers from his Gieger [sic] Counter Data. He suspects the obvious sign combination is not correct but that a plus, minus, minus plus assignment is more reasonable. It produces a high density shell at 22 angstroms which he
interprets as the location of the phosphorus atoms, as well as a region of high density at 42 angstroms. When his data are more complete (we hope within 2 weeks) he shall send them to you. If true its quite exciting as the arrangement of the RNA within the virus must be remarkably different than that found after extraction.
we are naturally curious as to what you are doing
with best regards
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