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Letter from Herman M. Kalckar to Joshua Lederberg

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  • Biology
  • Medicine


January 0, 1956 Dr. Rerfaan Kaltacar Wdm8J. Xnetituba of Realth BeMesda l4, ysryland Dear Merleanr I was delighted to rsosive your letter of the 6th, and your pmMainary report on idiopathio galaotosemia. As a matter of fact, I had been planning to vu4te to you on Just the question you brought up, bioohsnrical ataxiies of gala&m awtbabolisis in E. uoli. In addition, I have been academically inberested in the humm disease sime I, first heard of it &n medical school (ark3 wrote a report on it then as a alas8 thesis 3.n physiology). It happens that we am, working ms t intensively on the genetim of galac- tose fermn&tion in E. ooli K-12, but we have done virtually no czhemistry on it. We kmw only that it is a typicxdly fnduoible enzym system (as neasumd by mid prodnotion on g&aatoss as a substrate). I would imagism that strain K-12 would bs as satisfactory as any other strain for analytical purposes, and we have of uouree the benefit of a good deal of information on its gsnetilifts phpiolo$y and other easya#, ac~tesm (notably b-galaotosidase). This is sot a dfffianlt rltrain to grow in bulk if We proper equipmsnt is avitllable. Xmtm emlosing a few abstracts that show why se are comerned with these enzymes - the &tl* lsstants have proved to bs strategic for the understanding of the gunetiC8 of provA.rusea, md are involvsd themselves in a very interssting trarlsduotional prooass* We have, litmally, an indefinite numbsr of genet&xUy distLmt mutants, but we know of these only that #ey will not adapt to form the galaetolyticr system 1 had meant to ask you whether you could help us to dsfins thsir snzym&io dsfscts, in ths various n&ants, more prscisely. Ws will tiremfore be pleased to assist you, or coU&orate with you, on arlg terprs that are practimUy feasible. L hops we oan get somwhere with this sooner, but in any event I expeut to visit Washington in mid-March, if not sooner, and we aan discuss ths setter intis&ely no later than then. kn what fashion

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