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):
The Synthesis of DNA, 1953-1959
Box Number: 24
Folder Number: 16
November 4, 1955.
Dear Dr. Van Wazar:
We are currently engaged in a study of the enzymatic synthesis of polyphosphate and read your publication with considerable
We have purified an enzyme from Escherichia coli that polymerizes the terminal phosphate of ATP to a long chain polyphosphate.
This product shows all the characteristics that have been assigned to the high molecular weight phosphate compounds. It gives
a metachromatic reaction, is completely precipitated as an albumin complex at pH 4, and is only partially elutable from anion-exchange
resins with the strongest eluants available. It appears to contain negligible amounts of carbon and nitrogen residues. In
our routine assay we produce 0.4 micromole in one hour using about 2 gamma of enzyme protein. It should be no problem for
us to expand the scale of this reaction 100-fold or more to accumulate adequate amounts of this product. Our objectives include
a more thorough chemical and physical characterization of the product, as well as attempts to gain some insight into the biologic
role of this material.
I am writing to you for advice and help regarding the use of physical and other methods to investigate the properties of our
product. I would also appreciate it, if you consider the trouble worth taking, of sending me samples of metaphosphate of different
average chain lengths, as described by Katchman and yourself. Since our product contains P32, it would be simple for us to
mix it with one or more of your fractions and observe the distribution of phosphate and P32, in titration with albumin, and
any other systems that you might suggest.