Letter from Arthur Kornberg to Robert L. Sinsheimer
Working to synthesize a viable DNA, Kornberg turned to the small bacterial viruses M13 and Phi X174. Biophysicist Robert Sinsheimer
at the California Institute of Technology had found that the single-stranded, circular Phi X174 virus DNA was converted to
a double helix after entering its E. coli host, and the double stranded form was by itself infective. In this letter, Kornberg
asked for a sample of Sinsheimer's virus to start investigating its possible use as a replication template. It was from
this virus that Kornberg was able to create an infective synthetic viral DNA in 1967.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (57,260 Bytes)
1965-07-09 (July 9, 1965)
Sinsheimer, Robert L.
California Institute of Technology
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):
"Creating Life in the Test Tube," 1959-1970
Letter from Arthur Kornberg to Robert L. Sinsheimer (July 29, 1965)
July 9, 1965
May I take you up on your offer to let us try a genuine preparation of circular OX DNA for its capacity to prime DNA polymerase.
As you know, we find that M13 DNA does prime and all indications are that a covalent linkage is formed with the M13 DNA.
The separation of the new strand from the primer in alkaline sedimentation runs speaks for some alkali label linker somewhere.
We are very much in the dark about what that might be. It would be worth knowing what the behavior of OX DNA will be as a
primer-template. I wonder whether you could spare some isotopically tagged material so that we can follow the fate of the
OX DNA should it prove to be a primer. 100 mumoles should be ample to get us started. We could appeal for more if the results
were of sufficient interest to warrant additional experiments.
I was very impressed and pleased by the incisive report of the imaginative proposals of the Stadtman-Sinsheimer-Wood Committee.
I have sent it along to the Council hoping that there will be support for implementing the suggestions of your Committee for
the 1966 meetings. I will let you know what the response is.