Appointed professor and director of the microbiology department at Washington University, St. Louis, Mo. (1953-59), he continued to study the way in which living organisms manufacture nucleotides, which consist of a nitrogen-containing organic base linked to a five-carbon sugar ring--ribose or deoxyribose--linked to a phosphate group. Nucleotides are the building blocks for the giant nucleic acids DNA and RNA (ribonucleic acid, which is essential to the construction of cell proteins according to the specifications dictated by the "message" contained in DNA).
This research led Kornberg directly to the problem of how nucleotides are strung together (polymerized) to form DNA molecules. Adding nucleotides "labeled" with radioactive isotopes to extracts prepared from cultures of the common intestinal bacterium Escherichia coli, he found (1956) evidence of an enzyme-catalyzed polymerization reaction. He isolated and purified an enzyme (now known as DNA polymerase) that--in combination with certain nucleotide building blocks--could produce precise replicas of short DNA molecules (known as primers) in a test tube.
Kornberg was professor of biochemistry at Stanford University, Palo
Alto, Calif., from 1959. From 1959 to 1969 he was department chairman.
His writings include Enzymatic Synthesis of DNA (1961).
Main Page | About Us | All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. Timeline of Nobel Prize Winners is not affiliated with The Nobel Foundation. External sites are not endorsed or supported by http://www.nobel-winners.com/ Copyright © 2003 All Rights Reserved.