Natures Robots: A History of Proteins

Paperback | December 12, 2003

byCharles Tanford, Jacqueline Reynolds

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Proteins are amazingly versatile molecules. They make the chemical reactions happen that form the basis for life, they transmit signals in the body, they identify and kill foreign invaders, they form the engines that make us move, and they record visual images. All of this is now commonknowledge, but it was not so a hundred years ago. Nature's Robots is an authoritative history of protein science, from the origins of protein research in the nineteenth century, when the chemical constitution of 'protein' was first studied and heatedly debated and when there was as yet no glimmer of the functional potential of substances in the'protein' category, to the determination of the first structures of individual proteins at atomic resolution - when positions of individual atoms were first specified exactly and bonding between neighbouring atoms precisely defined. Tanford and Reynolds, who themselves made major contributions to the golden age of protein science, have written a remarkably vivid account of this history. It is a fascinating story, involving heroes from the past, working mostly alone or in small groups, usually with little support from formalresearch groups. It is also a story that embraces a number of historically important scientific controversies. Written in clear and accessible prose, Nature's Robots will appeal to general readers with an interest in popular science, in addition to professional scientists and historians of science.

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From the Publisher

Proteins are amazingly versatile molecules. They make the chemical reactions happen that form the basis for life, they transmit signals in the body, they identify and kill foreign invaders, they form the engines that make us move, and they record visual images. All of this is now commonknowledge, but it was not so a hundred years ago...

Both authors are Emeritus Professors at Duke University, Durham, NC, USA and both are former Guggenheim Fellows. Tanford is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (USA). They live in Easingwold, UK.

other books by Charles Tanford

Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 7.72 × 5.08 × 0.65 inPublished:December 12, 2003Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019860694X

ISBN - 13:9780198606949

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Table of Contents

Chemistry1. The naming2. Crystallinity, haemaglobin3. The peptide bond4. Proteins are true macromolecules5. Bristling with charges6. Fibrous proteins7. Analytical imperative8. Amino acid sequence9. Subunits and domainsDetailed Structure10. Early approaches to protein folding11. Hydrogen bonds and the alpha-helix12. Irving Langmuir and the hydrophobic factor13. Three-dimensional structurePhysiological Function14. An ancient and many-sided science15. Are enzymes proteins?16. Antibodies17. Colour vision18. Muscle contraction19. Cell membranesHow are proteins made?20. The link to genetics21. After the double helix: the triple code22. The new alchemyNotes and ReferencesIndexes

Editorial Reviews

`Review from previous edition anyone interested in proteins will find Nature's Robots an absorbing and often exciting story, as well as a major contribution to scholarship.'Nature 17/01/02