January 1977 Vol. 5 No. 1


Horizons In Biochemistry and Biophysics, Volume 2
Edited by Quagliariello, E., Palmieri, F. a n d Singer, T. P. Addison-Wesley P u b l i s h i n g C o m p a n y ( A d v a n c e d Book P r o g r a m ) , Reading, M a s s . , pp. 340 + xvi. 1976. Cloth $15.00, P a p e r b a c k $7.75. When reviewing Volume I of this new series, designed as "an experiment in communication among scientists and students", I gave a cautious welcome to the venture coupled with an expression of certain reservations that might be negated or clarified with the issue of further volumes. This second volume has now appeared after a two-year interval and, on the whole, it enhances the status of the series. The editors present nine articles that cover a far wider spectrum of topics within the horizons than in Volume I, a fact that I welcome. Most of the articles are indeed well-written and easy to read. Two of the editors are themselves co-authors of an excellent article on "Carrier-Mediated Transport of Metabolites in Mitochondria" (by A. Fony6, F. Palmieri and E. Quagliariello). This review starts by examining the evidence that led to the concept of the existence of metabolite carriers in the inner mitocbondrial membrane. The authors point out the limitations of the experimental approaches and then examine, at the right level for the intended reader, the presently available evidence for the known carriers. This exemplary article concludes with some comments on likely future developments in the field including the possible isolation of carrier molecules. It is an inspired selection by the editors to have in the same volume an article on "Transfer of Substrates across the Chlorplast Envelope" (H. W. Heldt). The reader is thereby able to compare and contrast the transport problems in two differing organelles. I also particularly enjoyed reading the article on "Sugar and Amino Acid Transport in Animals Cells" (U. Hopfer). The author reviews in a very elegant manner the recent progress in our understanding of transmembrane and transepithelial transport of these small molecule that has resulted from studies on isolated systems. An article on "Mutant Methodology in the Study of Carbohydrate Transport" (H. L. Kornberg and P. J. F. Henderson) is an interesting expression of faith in their approach to biochemical problems by two dedicated "E. colliolegists". The article on "Pancreatic Lipase and Colipase: An Example of Heterogeneous Biocatalysis" (M. S~m~riva and P. Desneulle) does well in bringing out the fact that here is a system that may represent a model of protein-protein interaction operating in a lipid environment as a regulatory mechanism. Space does not permit separate comments on all the other articles which are: Gout and the Regulation of Purine Biosynthesis" (M. S. Hershfield and J. E. Seegmiller), "Practical Applications and Philosophy of Optical Spectroscopic Probes" (G. Weber), "Molecular Aspects of Electrical Excitation in Lipid Bilayers and Cell Membranes" (P. Mueller) and "The Gene Expression during the Cell Life Cycle" (P. Volpe). This last article represents a brave attempt to present a vast amount of information about geue expression during the cell cycle of the Hela cell. It certainly takes the reader to an horizon but, after allowing for the fact that the subject matter is complex and inevitably involves the use of a considerable amount of jargon, I feel the article is, in this form, a little out of place beside the other articles in this volume. It also suggests to me that the editors will have to evolve a policy for dealing with manuscripts that are in need of revision or attention to the presentation with respect to English. If, as the editors indicate, they intend to invite articles from many authors whose native tongue is not English then I think they may have to use their editorial pencils on some occasions. This is intended as a constructive criticism. I believe this series now promises well and should be available to and/or brought to the attention of advanced students and workers who want to keep abreast of concepts and advances in related areas. Department of Biochemistry D.G. Walker University of Birmingham, U.K. (Volume 1 was reviewed in Biochemical Education 1975.3, 75)

Physical Biochemistry: Applications to Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
By David Freifelder. Pp. 570. W. H. F r e e m a n & C o m p a n y Ltd, 1976. £12.40 hardcover, £8.00 softcover. The basic premise of this useful book is that in biochemistry
interactions are at least as important as reactions. The book aims to

present physical biochemistry completely avoiding mathematical derivations, in order to enable advanced undergraduates and beginning graduates to understand the current literature. It fulfils this aim reasonably well and hardly any presently-used technique is omitted, with the deliberate exception of X-ray crystallography. In addition to an outline of a particular method, the reader is given a 'feel' for the technique by simple considerations of instrumentation followed by several examples of the use of the technique. The student working on his own would find the going easy and his interest would always be held by the ample practical details. Each chapter is followed by a few selected references and by some problems. Some of the problems seemed idiosyncratic at first, but on reading the brief solutions given, I warmed to them. After a brief introductory chapter on the chemical characterization of macromolecules the book is divided into six major sections. These deal with direct observation (e.g. light and electron microscopy), general methods (e.g. pH measurement, radioactivity), separation methods, hydrodynamic methods, spectroscopy (including perturbation, infra-red, fluorescence and polarization of fluorescence, ORD, CD, and NMR), and miscellaneous methods (e.g. equilibrium dialysis, concentrating solutions of macromolecules). In attempting to cover the whole field of biochemical methodology it is inevitable that some techniques will be dealt with in a more satisfactory way than others reflecting the direct experience of the author with the different methods. Thus the sections on pH measurement, isotope labelling, electron microscopy, separation methods, and spectroscopy are on the whole good, clear accounts. The sections on electrophoresis on the other hand are not so helpful. For example, with disc gel electrophoresis, we are told that 'the gel can be stained by immersion in dye' but there is no mention of precipitating the protein first or simultaneously, and one would get quite the wrong idea from the statement that follows, that 'the dye is coupled covalcntly to the protein and the protein is coupled to the gel' (p. 223). It is stated in the section on detergent-gel electrophoresis that thin-layer gelfiltration is 'of equal value' to SDS-gels in determining protein molecular weights. In fact the former is more often used for 'native' molecular weights and the latter can only give 'prutomer' molecular weights. I challenge the statement that SDS has supplanted urea in the elmination of secondary and tertiary structure, if only because it is extremely difficult to do things like sedimentation equilibrium and gel filtration in the presence of SDS. The hydrodynamic methods section is excellent on sedimentation velocity, and on zonal and band centrifugation, but is very nucleic acid-orientated. This is not a bad thing as many similar books are in fact heavily protein-orientated. However in the present case it means that the important technique of sedimentation equilibrium only receives 2 pages, and there is nothing on multi-component or interacting systems and little on non-ideality. The latter is unfortunate as the only plot of In c vs. r 2 given is one of serum albumin in 6M-guanidinium chloride. In other respects however this section gives good coverage, particularly on partial specific volumes and on diffusion coefficients. The section on viscosity is also good, although again DNA-orientated. In general the style of the book is chatty and readable, if a tittle sloppy at times. One might ask what '1% accuracy' means (p. 349), and it might be possible to be offended by phrases like 'What this means is that .' if they c~op up too often. Finally the glossary seemed particularly oversimplified and imprecise, for example, 'Svedberg: A unit of sedimentation', and 'Antibody: A protein synthesized by an animal in response to a foreign substance', and 'Density gradient: A change in density with position'. E. J. Wood
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