Arthur Kornberg

Arthur Kornberg ( March 3, 1918 in Brooklyn, New York City, USA, † October 26, 2007 in Stanford, California ) was an American biochemist. Together with Severo Ochoa in 1959 he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for the discovery of the mechanism in the biological synthesis of ribonucleic acid and deoxyribonucleic acid ". One of his sons, Roger D. Kornberg is also Nobel Prize winners.

Arthur Kornberg's primary research interests were the chemistry of enzymes, the synthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid and the study of nucleic acids that control inheritance in animals, plants, bacteria and viruses. He isolated in 1956 for the first time, the enzyme DNA polymerase I (also referred to Kornberg polymerase) from the bacterium Escherichia coli.

Early life

Arthur Kornberg was born the son of Austrian Lena Kornberg (nee Katz) and Joseph Kornberg. His parents emigrated in 1900 from Galicia to New York, in 1904 they married. Arthur's paternal grandfather changed the family name from Queller (also written Kweller ) to Kornberg to prevent the convening of the military by assuming the identity of a person who had already completed his military service. He worked almost 30 years as a sewing machine workers in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. As his health deteriorated, he opened a small hardware store in Brooklyn, in the Arthur Kornberg age of nine customers served.

Kornberg first went to the Abraham Lincoln High School in 1937 and received at the City College of New York and the bachelor's degree in 1941 from the University of Rochester the master. Kornberg had Gilbert's syndrome, which is caused by an increase in the bilirubin level in the blood a slight jaundice. During medical school he studied under fellow students as often occurred this ( relatively harmless ) disease. The results of this study were published in 1942 in Kornberg's first scientific work.

His internship made ​​Kornberg 1941-1942 at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York. He then joined the armed service of the United States Coast Guard in as lieutenant, where he served as a ship's doctor. Rolla Dyer, director of the National Institutes of Health, learned of Kornberg's work and invited him to the research team of the Institute of the NIH diet. From 1942 to 1945 Kornberg's work consisted in the feeding of specialized diets of rats to discover new vitamins.

Scientific Research

Feeding rats was not a particularly interesting work of Kornberg. Rather, his interest grew in enzymes. In 1946, he joined the laboratory of Severo Ochoa at New York University. He took summer courses at Columbia University to improve his knowledge in the field of organic and physical chemistry, while the techniques of enzyme isolation learned in his work. From 1947 to 1953 he was chief of the enzyme and metabolism department at the National Institutes of Health. He worked on understanding the production of ATP from NAD and NADP, which led to his work on the composition of DNA from simpler molecules later.

Between 1953 and 1959 he was Professor and Head of the Department of Microbiology at Washington University. Here he continued the experiments with the enzymes that produce the DNA to continue. 1956 Kornberg isolated the erstentdeckte DNA polymerization enzyme, now known as DNA polymerase I. This secured him the Nobel Prize in 1959.

In 1960 he was awarded the LLD title of City College, followed by a D. Sc. title at the University of Rochester in 1962. Starting from 1959 he was a professor and executive director of the Department of Biochemistry at Stanford University. In 1959, he received a Gairdner Foundation International Award.

Kornberg's mother died in 1939 in a gas - gangrene caused by a spore - infection after a routine operation on his gall bladder. This sparked a lifelong fascination with spores in it. While he was working at Washington University, he devoted some of his research efforts whose understanding. From 1962 to 1970, in the midst of his work on DNA synthesis, he brought half his time to figure out how the DNA is stored in spores which reproduction mechanisms are included as spores and generate new cells. This was not very popular, but a complex area of science. Although Kornberg made ​​progress, he gave this branch of research on eventually.

2006 operating Kornberg, additional research laboratory at Stanford and published regularly peer-reviewed scientific papers. For some years, his attention focused on the research of inorganic polyphosphates.

Home life

Kornberg married Sylvy Ruth Levy, also a biochemist, on 21 November 1943. She worked closely with Kornberg and was instrumental in the discovery of DNA polymerase.

They had three sons: Roger David Kornberg (currently professor of structural biology at Stanford University and winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2006), Thomas Bill Kornberg ( discoverer of DNA polymerase II and III and is currently a biochemist at the University of California ) and Kenneth Andrew Kornberg ( architect who has specialized in the design of biomedical and biotechnological laboratories and buildings).

Sylvy Kornberg died 1986. Arthur Kornberg married in 1988 Walsh Levering.

Publications (selection)

  • From the enzyme of the DNA to the membranes. Academy of Sciences and Literature, Mainz 1974, ISBN 3-515-01883-2.
  • For The Love of Enzymes - The Odyssey of a Biochemist. Harvard University Press, Boston, 1989, ISBN 0-674-30776-3.