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Vinsent Du Vigneaud

Picture of Vinsent Du Vigneaud

Date of Birth: 05/18/1901

Age: 77

Place of birth: Chicago

Citizenship: United States

Background

Primary education he received in the Chicago public schools. Demonstrating very early interest in science, the boy spent in the home laboratory experiments in chemistry and physiology. In 1918 he enrolled at the University of Illinois, where he majored in organic chemistry, and in 1923 received a bachelor`s degree, and the next year - a master`s degree in chemistry for his research work on the synthesis of a drug having local anesthetic and vasopressor (causes high blood pressure) effects. These early studies led him to what he later called "nagging interest in the relationship between the chemical structure of organic compounds and their biological activity."

Interest du B. Insulin has arisen after the lecture VK Rose delivered at the Chemistry Department of the University of Illinois shortly after the discovery of insulin by Frederick G. Banting and John JR Macleod. Later du B. recalled, he was "struck by the fact that the chemical structure of this compound could have such amazing properties, described Rose. I never thought that insulin could eventually prove to be a sulfur compound. "

In 1924 du V. mainly worked in Jackson Laboratory firm "Dupont de Nemours" in Wilmington (Delaware), then became an assistant biochemist at the Graduate School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and in the laboratory of clinical chemistry at the Philadelphia General Hospital, where he worked . In 1925 he moved to the Faculty of Economics of life support (in the Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism actually) at the newly established University of Rochester School of Medicine.

The University of Rochester du B. researched the chemical composition of insulin. Two years later he wrote that insulin, apparently, is an amino acid derivative of cystine that sulfur detected in insulin is in the form of a disulfide bridge and insulin is likely, is a peptide of (two or more amino acids linked together). As it is known in nature to 20 amino acids, the chemical structure of the long peptides and proteins often very complex.

In 1927, B. du received the University of Rochester doctoral degree in chemistry. Through grants from the National Research Council, he went to medical school at Johns Hopkins Department of Pharmacology, where he managed to isolate the amino acid cystine crystals of insulin. He also discovered that the insulin comprises only amino acids and ammonia, although ammonia has been shown later, the by-product.

In 1928 du B. went to Germany, in Dresden, in the laboratory of Max Bergmann, a former student kogda-to Emil Fischer, and is already a recognized authority in the field of chemistry of amino acids and peptides. Although Bergman asked him to become his assistant, W. du rejected this proposal, to continue its work with biologists George Barger of the University of Edinburgh (Scotland), and Charles Harrington of the University College, University of London (England).

Upon returning du B. admitted to the University of Illinois at Faculty of physiological chemistry. In 1932 he became Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry Department headed by School of Medicine at George Washington University in Washington, DC (DC), where he developed a training program in biochemistry for medical students. In addition, he conducted research on the possibility of the relationship between gipoglitsemicheskim effect of insulin (decrease in blood sugar), and the presence of cystine disulfide bonds. To test this, he has synthesized peptides containing cysteine, and studied their physiological tests (assays) on insulin activity.

In 1936, he and his colleagues synthesized Glutathione - tripeptide containing amino acids - cysteine, glycine and glutamic acid. Glutathione, found in all animal tissues, functions as a reducing agent (electron donor). In 1937 du V. published the final proof that all the insulin sulfur contained in the amino acid cystine and that the restoration of disulfide bonds insulin glutathione or cysteine ??make it physiologically inactive.

The following year, du V. became a professor of Biochemistry and Dean of the Medical College of Cornell University biochemistry faculty at New York. There he continued his attempts to isolate, purify and synthesize the hormones oxytocin (which stimulates uterine contractions during labor and causes the flow of milk from the mammary glands of female) and vasopressin (which stimulates peripheral vasoconstriction of blood and promotes water reabsorption in the kidneys, That is a decrease in volume urine). During the study of biological transmethylation (transfer of methyl groups from one molecule to another), he and his colleagues found that the methyl groups are important factors in the diet. They also isolated from liver tissue and biotin milk - coenzyme participating in cellular respiration, and proved to be identical and the structure and properties of substances, then known as vitamin H or coenzyme R.

During the Second World War du B. worked on the synthesis of penicillin - fungal antibiotic, discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming. However, just after the war, in 1946, he and his colleagues managed to fully develop the synthesis of penicillin.

B. Du and his colleagues continued to work on the release of oxytocin from the pituitary extracts are commercially available and bovine pituitary tissue and pigs. They found that regardless of the source oxytocin always contains eight of the same amino acids and the biological effect is the same. The sulfur content of oxytocin completely coincides with its number in this amino acid as cysteine. In 1953 V. du g. determined that oxytocin - a cyclic polypeptide which consists of the structure pentapeptide (five amino acids) and tripeptide ring side chain. System pentapeptide ring dvadtsatichlennaya structure is closed by a disulfide bridge, was not previously detected among the chemical structures of known natural compounds. B. Du and his colleagues received the first crystalline oxytocin, which experienced nazhenschinah to induce labor, and have proven that it is effective for clinical use. This was the first polypeptide hormone synthesis under conditions in vitro.

In 1955 du B. was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for his work with biologically active compounds, and especially for the first time carried out the synthesis of a polypeptide hormone". In his Nobel lecture, he told about the history of the study of these sulfur-containing peptides: "From a series of experimental work in the laboratory, just do not know what in the end will come. Thus it is necessary to be sure that you have formulated the goal and you feel a sense of, located as it is a specific goal that is sought. "

All these years, B. du maintained close cooperation with both the clinicians and with specialists involved, as he is, the fundamental problems. From 1967 to 1975 he was a professor of chemistry at Cornell University in Ithaca. He became a member of the board of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases and Research Council Institutes of Health in New York. He also served as President Garveevskogo Society and the American Society of Biological Chemistry and Chairman of the Board of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

In 1924, Du V. married Selle Sohn Ford, which they raised a son and a daughter. A tall man with a thin mustache brush, he loved to play bridge and go riding. He died December 11, 1978 in Scarsdale (New York).

Among other awards du V. Nichols has a medal of the American Chemical Society (1945), Borden Award for Medical Sciences, Osborne and Mendel Award of the American Institute of Nutrition (1953), medal of Charles Frederick Chandler, Columbia University (1956) and Willard Gibbs Medal of the American Chemical Society ( 1956). He was a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, New York Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.