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Biological NMR Spectroscopy$
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John L. Markley and Stanley J. Opella

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780195094688

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195094688.001.0001

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NMR Approaches to the Heat-, Cold-, and Pressure-Induced Unfolding of Proteins

NMR Approaches to the Heat-, Cold-, and Pressure-Induced Unfolding of Proteins

(p.157) 12 NMR Approaches to the Heat-, Cold-, and Pressure-Induced Unfolding of Proteins
Biological NMR Spectroscopy

K. Akasaka

T. Yamaguchi

Oxford University Press

Birthday symposia inevitably provide an opportunity for reflection. Noting that greater minds than mine have offered an apology for their life (St. Augustine, 1853 edition; St. Thomas Aquinas; John Henry cardinal Newman, 1864), I shall attempt to answer the question: What have been the lasting contributions of my generation - the generation that began its work before Richard Ernst’s epoch making development of 2D NMR, and the equally momentous development of high field spectrometers, pioneered by Harry Weaver at Varian, Rex Richards at Oxford and Gunther Laukien at Bruker, revolutionized the technology and put biological applications within everyone’s reach? I offer these insights in the spirit that to fully understand a subject one must understand its history. The essence of scientific endeavor is to see something no one has seen before - or understand something no one had understood before. If there had been such a contribution, it was to understand what biological questions could be asked by NMR and to develop prototype experiments showing how. Difficult as it is to imagine this today when such understanding is taken for granted, the now obvious just wasn’t obvious then. Quite the contrary: well considered expert opinion of the day held the undertaking to be of very dubious merit. Linus Pauling, with whom it was my great fortune to spend my postdoctoral year, was never much interested in nuclear magnetic resonance (and did not think much of its promise for biological applications, as he clearly pointed out at this symposium). But, Linus Pauling firmly believed in giving the young the freedom to explore, and so the first crude interpretation of a protein NMR spectrum, taken a few weeks earlier by Martin Saunders, Arnold Wishnia and J. G. Kirkwoodat Yale, was based on the first amino acid and peptide spectra we had taken at Caltech. When I got my first faculty job at Harvard, and wanted to apply for an NMR spectrometer, it was not quite as easy.

Keywords:   CAT, Gordon conference, ICMRBS, deuteration, paramagnetic ions, ribonuclease, titration

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