Unpublished Works

These are digitized versions of Dr Yellapragada SubbaRow's unpublished research papers presented by Lederle Laboratories to Mr S P K Gupta. They must be viewed in the light of the following excerpts from 'In Quest of Panacea' By Mr S P K Gupta in collaboration with Dr E L Milford: "He (HMS Biochemistry Department Head Otto Folin) also put on record in the Harvard Medical Alumni Bulletin the joint work with SubbaRow that Fiske would not permit to be published after controversies over publication priorities robbed them of full credit for phosphocreatine and ATP discoveries.

In Fiske's laboratory were isolated some seven or eight compounds accounting for 90 per cent of all tissue phosphorus in liver, spleen, pancreas and kidneys and devised micro methods for estimation of purine nitrogen, for separation of pyramidines and for estimation of phosphorus in proteins and other high molecular weight compounds. An investigation of glycerophosphoric acid had also been started on the assumption that it, being a constituent of lecithin and other lipoids, would yield information on the relationship between fat and phosphorus.

Methods were worked out to follow the course of decomposition ATP which "may" result in the formation of more than fifty compounds. They included "a special analytical scheme for the individual purine bases" of ATP. Among the products partially isolated were two organic phosphorus compounds with the properties similar to those of ATP and were in all probability nucleotides involved in the synthesis of RNA. Dr. George H, Hitchings, a graduate assistant of Fiske and colleague of SubbaRow, says some of thee nucleotides isolated by SubbaRow had to be rediscovered years later by other workers and the progress of science in the field of nucleic acids was to that extent delayed.

An ATP-like substance isolated from red blood corpuscles was expected to put them on the track of a "physiologically active sub-stance which circulates in inactive form and (becomes) active in tissues in response to appropriate conditions". Two organic pounds present in the brain were found to be destroyed with at rapidity when blood circulation is cut off and it was speculated that "it is just such `explosive' reactions that are most likely to be involved in the activity of the central nervous system ". The separation and identification of the phosphorus compounds of the brain had been undertaken, and the removal and rapid fixation of brain tissue samples to have a picture of their composition before destruction were challenges worthy of SubbaRow."

These papers will be hopefully studied by science historians and biotechnologists to confirm the evaluation by Dr Hitchings.