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EcoSal Plus

Domain 1:

Historical Perspectives

and the Emergence of Molecular Biology

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  • Author: Agnes Ullmann1
  • Editor: James B. Kaper2
  • VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Institut Pasteur, 75015 Paris, France; 2: University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
  • Received 14 February 2011 Accepted 14 April 2011 Published 10 June 2011
  • Address correspondence to Agnes Ullmann ullmann@pasteur.fr
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  • Abstract:

    The creation of the "Phage group" by M. Delbrück, S. E. Luria, and A. D. Hershey in 1940 at Cold Spring Harbor played a crucial role in the development of molecular biology. In the 1940s, working with and its viruses, Luria and Delbrück discovered the spontaneous nature of bacterial mutations and Hershey described recombination in bacteriophages and demonstrated with M. Chase that the genetic material that infects bacteria is DNA. At the same time, S. Benzer defined the structure of a functional genetic unit and J. Lederberg and E. Tatum discovered sexual recombination between bacteria. Some years later, Lederberg's group discovered extrachromosomal particles, the plasmids, and a novel way of genetic transfer through bacteriophages, called transduction. In 1949, at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, A. Lwoff uncovered the mechanism of lysogeny. Shortly afterwards, F. Jacob and E. Wollman unraveled the mechanism of the sexual process in and established the circularity of the bacterial chromosome. In the 1960s, J. Monod and F. Jacob, by genetic analysis of the lactose system, proposed the operon model for gene regulation and introduced the concept of messenger RNA. The elucidation of the double helix structure of DNA in 1953 by F. Crick and J. Watson had major consequences: the establishment of the copying mechanism (Meselson and Stahl), the discovery of the nature of the genetic code (S. Brenner) leading to its deciphering. and its phages were instrumental in the development of recombinant DNA technology based on the discovery of the restriction-modification system by W. Arber.

  • Citation: Ullmann A. 2011. and the Emergence of Molecular Biology, EcoSal Plus 2011; doi:10.1128/ecosalplus.1.1.2

Key Concept Ranking

Gene Expression and Regulation
0.77573943
Genetic Recombination
0.58133584
Bacterial Genetics
0.52601933
Viruses
0.40593418
Chemicals
0.38011417
Lac Repressor
0.36764705
0.77573943

References

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3. Avery OT, Macleod CM, McCarthy M. 1944. Studies of the chemical nature of the substance inducing transformation of pneumococcal types. Induction of transformation by a desoxyribonucleic acid fraction isolated from pneumococcus type III. J Exp Med 89:137–158. [PubMed][CrossRef]
4. Ellis EL, Delbrück M. 1939. The growth of bacteriophage. J Gen Physiol 22:365–384. [PubMed][CrossRef]
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11. Benzer S. 1966. Adventures in the rII region, p 157–165. In Cairns J, Stent GS, and Watson JD (ed), Phage and the Origins of Molecular Biology. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory of Quantitative Biology, Cold Spring Harbor, NY.[CrossRef]
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14. Lederberg J, Tatum E. 1946. Novel genotypes in mixed cultures of biochemical mutants of bacteria. Cold Spring Harbor Symp Quant Biol 11:113–114.
15. Lederberg J, Tatum E. 1946. Gene recombination in E. coli. Nature 158:558.[PubMed]
16. Morse ML, Lederberg EM, Lederberg J. 1956. Transduction in Escherichia coli. Genetics 41:142–156. [PubMed][CrossRef]
17. Zinder ND, Lederberg J. 1952. Genetic exchange in Salmonella. J Bacteriol 64:679–699.
18. Monod J. 1941. Sur un phénomène nouveau de croissance complexe dans les cultures bactériennes. C R Acad Sci (Paris) 212:934–936. [CrossRef]
19. Ullmann A. 25 January 2010, posting date. (Escherichia coli and the French School of Molecular Biology), Escherichia coli and the French School of Microbiology. In Böck A, Curtiss R III, Kaper JB, Karp PD, Neidhardt FC, Nyström T, Slauch JM, and Squires CL, and Ussery D (ed), EcoSal—Escherichia coli and Salmonella: cellular and molecular biology. http:/www.ecosal.org. ASM Press, Washington, DC.
20. Monod J. 1942. Recherche sur la croissance des cultures bactériennes. Doctoral thesis. Hermann, Paris, France. [CrossRef]
21. Jacob F, Monod J. 1959. Gènes de structure et gènes de régulation dans la biosynthèse des protéines. C R Acad Sci 249:1282–1284. [PubMed][CrossRef]
22. Lwoff A. 1953. Lysogeny. Bacteriol Rev 17:269–337.[PubMed]
23. Jacob F, Wollman EL. 1961. Sexuality and the Genetics of Bacteria. Academic Press, New York, NY. [CrossRef]
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26. Jacob F, Monod J. 1961. On the regulation of gene activity. Cold Spring Harbor Symp Quant Biol 26:193–211.
27. Gilbert W, Müller-Hill B. 1966. Isolation of the lac repressor. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 56:1891–1899.[PubMed]
28. Brenner S, Jacob F, Meselson M. 1961. An unstable intermediate carrying information from genes to ribosomes for protein synthesis. Nature 190:576–581. [PubMed][CrossRef]
29. Gros F, Gilbert W, Hiatt HH, Attardi G, Spahr PF, Watson JD. 1961. Molecular and biological characterization of messenger RNA. Cold Spring Harbor Symp Quant Biol 26:111–132. [PubMed][CrossRef]
30. Hall BD, Spiegelman S. 1961. Sequence complementarity of T2-DNA and T2-specific RNA. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 47:137–146.[PubMed]
31. Spiegelman S. 1961. The relation of informational RNA to DNA. Cold Spring Harbor Symp Quant Biol 26:75–90.[PubMed]
32. Volkin E, Astrachan L. 1956. Phosphorus incorporation in Escherichia coli ribonucleic acid after infection with bacteriophage T2. Virology 2:149–161.[PubMed]
33. Chargaff E. 1950. Chemical specificity of nucleic acids and mechanism of their enzymatic degradation. Experientia 6:201–209.[PubMed]
34. Chargaff E. 1951. Structure and function of nucleic acids as cell constituents. Fed Proc 10:654–659.[PubMed]
35. Watson JD, Crick FHC. 1953. A structure for deoxyribose nucleic acid. Nature 171:737–738.
36. Meselson M, Stahl FW. 1958. The replication of DNA in Escherichia coli. Proc Natl Acad Sci 44:671–682. [PubMed][CrossRef]
37. Crick FHC. 1958. On protein synthesis. Symp Soc Exp Biol XII:139–163. [PubMed][CrossRef]
38. Crick FHC. 1970. Central dogma in molecular biology. Nature 227:561–563. [PubMed][CrossRef]
39. Sanger F. 1952. The arrangement of amino acids in proteins. Adv Protein Chem 7:1–66. [PubMed][CrossRef]
40. Crick FH, Barnett L, Brenner S, Watts-Tobin RJ. 1961. General nature of the genetic code for proteins. Nature 192:1227–1232.[PubMed]
41. Nirenberg MW, Matthaei H. 1961. The dependence of cell-free protein synthesis in E. coli upon naturally occurring or synthetic template RNA, p 184–189. In V. A. Engelhardt (ed), Biological Structure and Function at the Molecular Level. The MacMillan Co., London, England.
42. Nirenberg M. 2004. Historical review: deciphering the genetic code—a personal account. Trends Biochem Sci 29:46–54.[PubMed]
43. Sarabhai AS, Stretton AOW, Brenner S, Bolle A. 1964. Co-linearity of the gene with the polypeptide chain. Nature 201:13–17. [PubMed][CrossRef]
44. Yanofsky C, Helinski DR, Maling BD. 1961. The effects of mutation on the composition and properties of the A protein of Escherichia coli tryptophan synthetase. Cold Spring Harbor Symp Quant Biol 26:11–24.[PubMed]
45. Luria SE. 1953. Host-induced modification of viruses. Cold Spring Harbor Symp Quant Biol 18:237–244.[PubMed]
46. Arber W. 1974. DNA modification and restriction. Prog Nucleic Acid Res Mol Biol 14:1–37. [PubMed][CrossRef]
47. Blattner FR, Plunkett G, Bloch CA, Perna NT, Burland V, Riley M, Collado-Vides J, Glasner JD, Rode CK, Mayhew GF, Gregor J, Davis NW, Kirkpatrick HA, Goeden MA, Rose DJ, Mau B, Shao Y. 1997. The complete genome sequence of Escherichia coli K-12. Science 277:1453–1474. [PubMed][CrossRef]
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2011-06-10
2017-03-29

Abstract:

The creation of the "Phage group" by M. Delbrück, S. E. Luria, and A. D. Hershey in 1940 at Cold Spring Harbor played a crucial role in the development of molecular biology. In the 1940s, working with and its viruses, Luria and Delbrück discovered the spontaneous nature of bacterial mutations and Hershey described recombination in bacteriophages and demonstrated with M. Chase that the genetic material that infects bacteria is DNA. At the same time, S. Benzer defined the structure of a functional genetic unit and J. Lederberg and E. Tatum discovered sexual recombination between bacteria. Some years later, Lederberg's group discovered extrachromosomal particles, the plasmids, and a novel way of genetic transfer through bacteriophages, called transduction. In 1949, at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, A. Lwoff uncovered the mechanism of lysogeny. Shortly afterwards, F. Jacob and E. Wollman unraveled the mechanism of the sexual process in and established the circularity of the bacterial chromosome. In the 1960s, J. Monod and F. Jacob, by genetic analysis of the lactose system, proposed the operon model for gene regulation and introduced the concept of messenger RNA. The elucidation of the double helix structure of DNA in 1953 by F. Crick and J. Watson had major consequences: the establishment of the copying mechanism (Meselson and Stahl), the discovery of the nature of the genetic code (S. Brenner) leading to its deciphering. and its phages were instrumental in the development of recombinant DNA technology based on the discovery of the restriction-modification system by W. Arber.

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Courtesy Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives.

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Copyright Institut Pasteur.

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Photo courtesy of Matthew Meselson.

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Courtesy of Frank Stahl.

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Courtesy of Matthew Meselson.

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Courtesy of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives.

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Courtesy Werner Arber.

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From Blattner et al. ( 28 ). Revised version, courtesy of Guy Plunkett III.

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Tables

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Table 1

The Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology

Citation: Ullmann A. 2011. and the Emergence of Molecular Biology, EcoSal Plus 2011; doi:10.1128/ecosalplus.1.1.2

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