The First Automated Amino Acid Analyzer

Stanford Moore and William Stein pictured at the Moore-Stein-Spackman analyzer, 1965. Credit: COURTESY OF THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION" />Stanford Moore and William Stein pictured at the Moore-Stein-Spackman analyzer, 1965. Credit: COURTESY OF THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION Frederick Sanger presented the first complete amino acid sequence of a protein (insulin) after 12 years of painstaking biochemistry involving partial hydrolysis and proteolytic cleavage. Needless to say, the process co

Terry Sharrer
Sep 1, 2006
<figcaption>Stanford Moore and William Stein pictured at the Moore-Stein-Spackman analyzer, 1965. Credit: COURTESY OF THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION</figcaption>
Stanford Moore and William Stein pictured at the Moore-Stein-Spackman analyzer, 1965. Credit: COURTESY OF THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION

Frederick Sanger presented the first complete amino acid sequence of a protein (insulin) after 12 years of painstaking biochemistry involving partial hydrolysis and proteolytic cleavage. Needless to say, the process could have used some automation.

Between 1949 and 1958, Rockefeller University researchers Stanford Moore, William Stein, and Darryl Spackman cobbled together a Rube Goldberg-like apparatus of pumps, flow meters, timers, a heating mantle, a resin reaction flask, a photometer, a water bath, and a recorder to analyze amino acid fragments as they emerged on chromatographic columns.1 They then applied this tool to determine the sequence of ribonuclease in 1960,2 succeeding Sanger, but carrying out the analysis automatically for the first time. Beckman Instruments would be the first to commercialize the amino acid analyzer.

For their work on the structure and function...

References

1. D.H. Spackman, W.H. Stein, S. Moore, "Automatic recording apparatus for use in the chromatography of amino acids," Analytical Chem, 30:1190-206, 1958. 2. C.H.W. Hirs, S. Moore, W.H. Stein, "The sequence of the amino acid residues in performic acid-oxidized ribonuclease," J Biol Chem, 235:633-47, 1960.

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