oa South African Medical Journal - New concepts of filterable viruses



A protein having the properties of the tobacco mosaic virus has been isolated from the juice of plantes suffering from the disease. The protein has a molecular weight between 15 and 20 millions. It is liquid crystalline, and has certain properties which resemble those of genes. The isoelectric point is 3.3, as compared with 7.6 for rdinary viruses, as vaccinia. Similar proteins have been found in other plant virus diseases, and one of molecular weight of over 20 million has been found to be the active agent in infective rabbit papilloma. Staphylococcal bacteriophage has been shown to be a protein with a molecular weight of 500,000. These great discoveries not only shed a new light on the theory of virus diseases, but also bring us very close to the transition point betweenliving and non-living matter. If a pure chemical compound can exert all the functions of the simplest living organisms, then where are we to place the boundary line?


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