The History of Cell Biology

Vladimir Matveev matveev at
Tue May 13 21:31:12 EST 2003

Dear Colleagues,
Please post the following text in your newsgroup. Thank you in advance.

The History of Cell Biology

Too many people forget now about what has been known in the scientific
literature. Too many scientist try posing as INDEPENDENT researchers and
don't want find an evident, often, their predecessors. When studying of
scientific history will be financed enough, probably, we'll be forced to
rewrite it anew.

I create a web-page about a history of cell biology for International
Federation for Cell Biology and would like to use this message board to
enhance some of my descriptions. I ask everybody, including librarians, to
help me to the best of one's ability.

Searching Internet I quickly understood that web-sites often write off each
other. There many contradictions in descriptions of the same facts or
events. I would like to try solve at least small part of them. But even
small historical problems need in collective participation of all who keeps
at least a piece of truth. I am not so free with English and therefore I can
not replay to every massage. I ask my future kind helpers are close to
facts, documents and so on. But interesting reflections are welcomed too.
Thank you all in advance.

The topic # 1. Actin history.

It is commonly accepted that actin was discovered by (Straub, 1942). Straub,
who was working in Szent-Gyorgyi's laboratory extracted myosin A (now know
as myosin) from fresh muscle and from the residue left over he isolated a
new protein. This new protein when added to myosin A formed a highly viscous
solution, similarly to what was known for myosin B (now known as
actomyosin). Thus, Straub provided evidence that his new protein activated
myosin A and therefore, called it actin.

But in 46 years Finck (1968) found Halliburton's paper of 1887. In this
study protein was isolated form muscle and named 'myosin-ferment' which
'coagulated' myosin A quickly, i.e. strongly interacted with myosin A.

The question arose: who is discoverer of actin in fact, Strub or

I would be grateful to everyone who will help me to answer this question.

Dr. Vladimir Matveev

* Straub FB, 1942. Actin. In: Studies from the Institute of Medical
Chemistry University Szeged, vol. II  (Szent-Gyorgyi, A. ed.) pp. 3-15, S.
Krager, Basel-New-York: S. Krager.
* Fink H, 1968. On the discovery of actin. Science 160: 332. (Full text:
* Halliburton WD. 1887. On muscle plasma. J. Physiol. 8: 133.

Dr. Vladimir Matveev
Institute of Cytology
Russian Academy of Sciences
Lab of Cell Physiology
194064, St.Petersburg
Tikhoretsky Ave 4

Home email: vm at
Office email: matveev at
Web based email: v_matveev at
Home page "New type of protein-protein
Home tel: +7 812 3012555
Office tel: +7 812 2473802


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