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The Arthur Kornberg Papers

Letter from Arthur Kornberg to Herman M. Kalckar pdf (190,854 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Arthur Kornberg to Herman M. Kalckar
In this letter to biochemist Herman Kalckar, Kornberg provided him with information about the NIH research grants process, and also gave him an update on his work on nucleotide synthesis.
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3 (190,854 Bytes)
1951-03-21 (March 21, 1951)
Kornberg, Arthur
Kalckar, Herman M.
Universitetets Institut for Cytofysiologi
Original Repository: Stanford University Libraries. Department of Special Collections and University Archives. Arthur Kornberg Papers
Reproduced with permission of Arthur Kornberg.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Research Support as Topic
Fellowships and Scholarships
National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
Exhibit Category:
From Physician to Enzyme Hunter, 1942-1953
Box Number:
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
March 21, 1951
Dear Herman:
I received your letter yesterday and am sincerely happy about the favorable developments with you. Please accept my congratulations and very best wishes in your new and important post.
First, I might say, after a brief inquiry, the prospect for obtaining funds from the Research Grants division of the NIH looks rather favorable. I learned that it is a perfectly legal and acceptable operation to grant funds abroad either because (1) the investigator is especially talented and plans to pursue a program that is of great importance to science, or (2) the contemplated work could not be carried out adequately in the United States. I think that there is no question in our minds that you will fall very comfortably into the first category.
The most important favorable aspect is the current composition of the Biochemistry Study Section which will consider your application. It consists of the following persons:
Severo Ochoa
Vernon Cheldelin (Oregon State)
George Brown (Sloane-Kettering)
Emil Smith (Utah)
J. Miller (Wisconsin)
H. Clarke (Columbia)
Floyd Daft (NIH)
Wendell Griffith (Texas)
J. Sendray (U. S. Navy, Bethesda)
Darby (Duke)
Goldsmith (Tulane)
Davidson (Harvard)
C. G. King, Chairman
You may not recognize the names of several members of this section since they may represent the nutritional and clinical interests of the group, but it is apparent that with Severo, George Brown, and Floyd Daft on the Board, you can be assured of a very personal as well as scientific endorsement. I will take the liberty of mentioning your letter to Severo when I see him in a couple of weeks; and it may be worthwhile to write to some other members of the Board if you should think it fit, although I hardly deem it necessary.
With regard to the amount of money, I would recommend that you ask for $10,000, as that is a reasonable request. However, you had better be guided by Severo's advice on this point, rather than mine. If you like, I should be happy to look over your application, in conjunction with Dr. Irvin Fuhr, who is secretary of this Study Section, for points of language and technical detail before it is sent officially to the Section. With regard to Greenstein, Shannon and Huggins, I see no harm in writing them, although I doubt that they could help in any direct way. Please feel free to write me about any questions that you have with regard to the application, and I will do my best to try to get them answered for you.
Your mention of an interest in obtaining a Fellowship in this country for Klenow prompts me to tell you that we would be very happy to consider for a Fellowship in our group someone whom you would endorse. From time to time we have space available for a special research Fellow, and there is a likelihood that there may be an opening at the end of the summer. We would be very happy for the opportunity of having someone with us whose training and interests you would consider mutually beneficial, to him and ourselves. In the case of Klenow, he may have some particular laboratory in mind, and I would certainly urge that he apply for an NIH Fellowship. We will do our best to second your recommendation of him.
I am most interested in the things you are finding with adenine and perhaps the extensions of the work recorded by McNutt. We are just in the process of preparing some C14 adenine by your method and also C14 orotic acid with the hope of learning something about their metabolic activity.
Dr. Hayaishi and I have some studies underway on the metabolism of pyrimidines by microorganisms, and the first thing we observed is that uracil is quantitatively oxidized to barbituric acid and thymine very likely to methyl barbituric acid. There appear to be alternative pathways of metabolism which we are all so looking into.
Another point of interest perhaps is some work we have done with uridine diphosphate isolated from the product accumulated by penicillin-inhibited S. aureus (Park and Johnson, JBC 1949). This nucleotide is converted to UTP by transfer from phosphopyruvate with purified transferring enzyme from the muscle. The UTP phosphorylates glucose with yeast hexokinase (at an appreciably slower rate than ATP) and probably also is active with phosphohexokinase. However, UDP is inert with myokinase, and I hardly know how to evaluate at this point the true significance of these nucleotides.
You may be interested in some work we did on the enzymatic cleavage of nicotinamide riboside. We purified an activity from extracts of beef liver acetone powder which phosphorylytically cleaves nicotinamide riboside deform nicotinamide, ribose-1-phosphate and hydrogen ion. Since the enzyme has a rather high pH optimum, the reversibility, although definite, is slight. It appears, in comparative studies with inosine, that we may be dealing with your enzyme in this reaction.
Sylvy and the members of our laboratory group join me in sending you our warmest regards. Please remember us to Vips.
Sincerely yours,
Arthur Kornberg
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