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Eley deals with the semiconducting properties ofbiological molecules in the dried state; special attention is given to the influence ofadsorbed water. Eley also reviews the question ofsemiconductivity in organized systems such as chloroplasts, mitochondria, and retinal rods. In a veryreadable account ofthe organization oftherespiratory andphosphorylative systems ofanimal mitochondria, Green and Fleischer emphasize their recent discoveries on the role of the structural protein and the lipids of mitochondria in the transducing properties ofthese particles. Lehninger discusses the mechanochemistry ofmitochondrial swelling andcontraction in relationtothe mechanism ofoxidative phosphorylation. Physicochemical correlates of nervous activity, and especially of long-term memory, are the subject ofa stimulating essay by Schmitt. A section on biochemical molecular structure begins with a survey ofthe biochemistry ofcopperproteins byFrieden. Charles Hugginstells ofhisrecentlydeveloped methods for the veryrapid inductionofmammarycancer bymassive oraldosage withpolynuclearhydrocarbons . He emphasizes the importance ofsteric and electronic factors in the action of aromatic carcinogens. An article entitled "Some Perspectives of Antispace Research in Biology" by Kalckar draws attention to some rather neglected researches on the influence ofhydrostatic pressure on the architecture and catalytic function ofproteins. Rlotz contributes a very useful review ofthe structure ofwater in the liquid and ice states, and the role ofwater in maintaining the structure and function ofproteins. The lastsection on quantum biochemistry is especially fitting in a volume dedicated to Szent-Györgyi, the father ofsubmolecular biology. Alberte and Bernard Pullman present a very clear exposé, in nonmathematical language, ofvarious quantum mechanical methods for calculation ofmolecular energy levels. It is shown that knowledge ofelectronic energy levels has provided new insight into the structure and function ofrespiratory coenzymes , nucleic acids, and proteins, and into the large differences in the free energy of hydrolysis ofbiologically important phosphate compounds. The Pullmans conclude with a summary oftheir theoretical treatment ofthe cancer problem. Finally, Kasha discusses some physical theories ofenergy transfer and electron transfer and their possible application to biological phenomena. Horizons in Biochemistry is a wonderful book. Crammed full as it is with daring ideas and new viewpoints, its debut is an important event in molecular biology. Guy Williams-Ashman University ofChicago The Action ofInsulin on Cells. By M. E. Rrahl. New York: Academic Press, Inc., 1961. Pp. ix+202. $7.50. The author has presented a thorough and concise review and evaluation ofthe current investigations concerning the mechanism ofaction ofinsulin as well as its varied effects on carbohydrate, lipid, and protein metabolism ofindividual tissues. The effects ofinsulin on the principal insulin responsive tissues (muscle, liver, and adipose tissue) are reviewed in detailwithparticularemphasis onthe relation ofinsulinto proteinsynthesis. Inthediscussion ofinsulin effect on each ofthese tissues, Rrahl has presented and evaluated numerous 267 diverse observations ofdifferent investigators and has included tabular data to corroborate the conclusions concerning the particular effects ofinsulin on the tissue. The material is organized in a logical manner and a short summary ofthe established experimental findings is presented at the end ofeach chapter. One ofthe points which Rrahl has developed in this review is that the action ofinsulin can be separated into two phases: an immediate effect occurring within a few minutes and demonstrable on muscle, adipose, and mammary gland tissue; and a delayed effect requiring several hours for the restoration ofnormal function in liver tissue ofseverely diabetic animals. In attempting to explain the mechanism ofaction ofinsulin in these two phases, Rrahl has speculated that insulin may be required to maintain the normal configuration oflipoproteins in the liver cell such as the lipoproteinsofthe cell wall, endoplasmic reticulum , and mitochondrial membranes.With insulin deficiency the changes in these lipoprotein structures could result in impairment ofglucose utilization and disruption ofthe function ofenzymes that may be associated with the membranes. In severe diabetes, he postulates that the delayed effect ofinsulin could be attributed to the time required for resynthesis and reorganization ofthese structural lipoproteins within the cell. Rrahl also postulates that the immediate action ofinsulin is to initiate an intermolecular arrangement in the lipoprotein membranes ofthe cell which spreads from the cell surface to the intracellular membranes resulting in selettive transport ofsugars and a decompartmentation in the cell favoring anabolic synthesis. As the author has indicated, experimental data is not available to confirm or deny these speculations. However, these hypotheses may serve as a stimulus for future investigations, since at leastmorphologictools suchaselectron...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 267-268
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
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