lunedì 20 febbraio 2012

E' morto Renato Dulbecco, Nobel per la Medicina. Leggi l'autobiografia che scrisse per il premio

A 97 anni compiuti è morto oggi a La Jolla in California Renato Dulbecco il biologo e genetista italiano vincitore del premio Nobel per la medicina nel 1975. Mancavano due giorni al 98esimo compleanno.
Non mancano i siti che ne ripercorrono la carriera e le gesta. E così voglio ricordarlo con due momenti, collegati: la motivazione del Premio Nobel conferitogli per i suoi studi su "the interaction between tumour viruses and the genetic material of the cell" e l'autobiografia che lo stesso Dulbecco scrisse per il Karolinska Institutet.
October 1975
Karolinska institutet has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 1975 jointly to

David Baltimore, Renato Dulbecco and Howard Temin

for their discoveries concerning "the interaction between tumour viruses and the genetic material of the cell".

The fact that the viruses can cause tumours was shown already more than 60 years ago byRous in studies of sarcomas and leukemias in chickens. However this observation was for a long time regarded as a biological curiosity and not until during the 1950ies was it shown that under certain conditions viruses could cause leukemias and other tumours also in other animals, e.g. mice. Studies of virus-induced changes of the growth characteristics of a normal cell to that of tumour cells - a phenomenon referred to as transformation - was facilitated during this decade due to the availability of methods for cultivating cells under laboratory conditions. This technique combined with the discovery of several viruses which could cause transformation in animals and in cell cultures provided facilities for studies of the role of the virus in this process. It was found that both viruses which contain genetic material of the same type as that present in chromosomes of cells i.e. deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and also viruses containing a different type of genetic material, ribonucleic acid (RNA) could cause transformation.

Renato Dulbecco selected to study the effect of a relatively simply built DNA tumour virus on cells cultivated under laboratory conditions. He found that virus replication either led to a distruction of cells concomitant with a release of newly produced virus particles, or a transformation of cells. No production of virus particles by the transformed cells could be observed. The question was then raised whether the virus caused a transformation of cells and then disappeared or whether genetic material of the virus remain in the transformed cells. The discovery of certain foot-prints of the virus suggested that the latter alternative was the most likely one. This was finally conclusively proven by Dulbecco and coworkers who by the use of molecular biology techniques could show that the genetic material of the virus was built into the genetic material of the transformed cells. Hereby cells acquired hereditary properties which derived from the infecting virus.
The genetic material of the DNA viruses used in these studies only contains information for the production of about 7 different proteins. It has later been shown by others that only a fraction of the whole virus genetic material is needed to cause a transformation of cells and that this amount of genetic information only can account for the production of 1 to 2 proteins. The nature of these proteins are currently subjected to studies which may lead to a detailed insight into the mechanism of transformation.

E questa è l'inizio dell'autobiografia:


Renato Dulbecco
I was born in Catanzaro, Italy, from a Calabrese mother and a Ligurian father. I stayed in that city for a short time; my father was called into the army (World War I) and we moved to the north, Cuneo and Torino. At the end of the war my father, who was in the "Genio Civile", was sent to Imperia, Liguria, where we stayed for many years. The life I remember begins at Imperia, where I went to school, including the Ginnasio-Liceo "De Amicis". What I remember most of that period, besides my family and the few friends, was the rocky beach where I spent most of my time during the summer holiday, and a small meterological observatory, where I used to spend lots of my free time throughout the year. There I developed a strong liking for physics, which I put to good use by building an electronic seismograph, probably one of the first of its kind, which actually worked.

I graduated from high school at 16 (1930) and went to the University in Torino. Although I liked especially physics and mathematics for which I had considerable talent, I decided to study medicine. This profession had for me a strong emotional appeal, which was reinforced by having an uncle who was an excellent surgeon.

In Torino I was a very successful student, but I soon realized that I was interested in biology more than in applied medicine. So I went to work with Giuseppe Levi, the professor of Anatomy, where I learned Histology and the rudiments of cell culture. For my degree, however, I went to morbid anatomy and pathology. In Levi's laboratory I met two students who later had a strong influence on my life: Salvador Luria and Rita Levi-Montalcini.

All through the student years I was at the top of my class although I was two years younger than everbody else.

After taking my MD degree in 1936 I was called up for military service as a medical officer. In 1938 I was discharged and returned to pathology. A year later, however, I was called up again because of the Second World War. I was sent briefly to the French front, and a year later to Russia. There I had a narrow escape on the front of the Don during a major Russian offensive in 1942: I was hospitalized for several months and sent home. When Mussolini's government collapsed and Italy was taken over by the German army I hid in a small village in Piemonte and joined the Resistance, as physician of the local partisan units. I continued to visit the Institute of Morbid Anatomy in Torino where I joined in underground political activities together with Giacomo Mottura, a senior collegue. I was part of the "Committee for National Liberation" of the city of Torino, and became a councillor of that city in the first postwar city council. However, the life of routine politics was not for me and within months I left that position to return to the laboratory. I also went back to school, enrolling in regular courses in physics, which I pursued for the next two years

Continua a leggere sul sito Nobelprize:
Press release del Nobel

Nessun commento:

Posta un commento

Come si dice, i commenti sono benvenuti, possibilmente senza sproloqui e senza insultare nessuno e senza fare marketing. Puoi mettere un link, non a siti di spam o phishing, o pubblicitari, o cose simili, ma non deve essere un collegamento attivo, altrimenti il commento verrà rimosso. Grazie.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...