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AbstractPreface Subtle and specific recognition between complex macromoleculesis at the core of virtually every life process. Knowledge about the chemical nature of these interactions is rapidly increasing at present. From the beginning, synthetic organic chemistry has been an important tool in the acquisition of this knowledge, the elucidation of the genetic code being the most dramatic example of the contributions chemists have madeto biology. A decade ago, the advent of genetic engineering opened up newhorizonsto the nucleic acids or protein chemist. With the techniques of molecular cloning at hand one could for thefirst time in history select individual molecules from synthetic mixtures andin principle prepare unlimited amounts of chemically homogeneous macromolecules. Today, we have just begun to see someofthe far-reaching consequencesof this revolutionary development. Yet, molecular cloning hasits limitations: in planning a synthesis, one is in practice constrained to the naturally occurring monomersof nucleic acids and proteins. Often however, one would like to introduce a non-natural monomerunit into a nucleic acid or protein molecule to study, for instance, the effect of an individual functional group ona biological process. In such studies, the biochemisthasto rely again on his classicalorganic- synthetic repertoire exclusively. Beyond theintroduction of functional groups that exceed the repertoire of natural nucleosides and amino acids, post-translational protein modifications such as the addition of oligosaccharide side chains, are an additional area of great interest that is not easily accessible by genetic engineering. In this book wehavetried to bring together a number of examplesillustrating the importance of organic synthesis for contemporary molecular biology in different areas of interest. These include — Synthesis of nucleic acids that cannot be amplified by molecular cloning and their application in studying processes of mutagenesis/carcinogenesis and DNA-protein interaction — DNAsynthesis and genetic diagnosis — Protein design — Chemical peptide synthesis in the developmentof vaccines — Cell-surface oligosaccharides and cell-cell interactions The book evolved from a symposium weorganized and held in Braunschweig in September 1984 with the aim of bringing together a set of leading specialists in diverse fields and initiating an interdisciplinary exchange of views and ideas. Thus the bookreflects the individual blend of this symposium — no attempt at a comprehensive review has been made. Wethank the sponsorsof the meeting, Stiftung Volkswagenwerk, Fonds der Chemischen Industrie and Bundesministerium für Forschung und Technologie. Our special thanks go to the symposium speakers and chairmen, and the contributors to this book.
CitationChemical synthesis in molecular biology, I
AffiliationGesellschaft für Biotechnologische Forschung (GBF)
Series/Report no.GBF Monographs, Vol. 8
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