Arthur Pardee

Arthur Pardee

Arthur Pardee (born July 13, 1921) is an American biochemist. One biographical portrait [] begins "Among the titans of science, Arthur Pardee is especially intriguing." There is hardly a field of molecular biology that is not affected by his work, which has advanced our understanding through theoretical predictions followed by insightful experiments. He is perhaps most famous for his part in the 'PaJoMo experiment' of the late 1950s, which greatly helped in the discovery of messenger RNA. He is also well known as the discoverer of the restriction point, in which a cell commits itself to certain cell cycle events during the G1 cycle. He has done a great deal of work on tumor growth and regulation, with a particular focus on the role of estrogen in hormone-responsive tumors. And he is also well known for the development of various biochemical research techniques, most notably the differential display methodology, which is used in examining the activation of genes in cells. More recently he has championed the acceptance and adoption of the conceptual review as a valuable approach to unearthing new knowledge from the enormous stores of information in the scientific literature.


Pardee received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1942 while his Masters (1943) and PhD (1947) degrees were earned at the California Institute of Technology under the mentorship of Linus Pauling, who he considered to be the greatest chemist of the 20th century. Pardee did postdoctoral work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before returning to Berkeley as an instructor in biochemistry in 1949. In the 1950s, he was on a sabbatical with Jacob Francis and Jacques Monod in Paris. In 1961 Pardee became Professor in Biochemical Sciences at Princeton University while in 1975 he moved to Boston to become Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School as well as Chief for the Division of Cell Growth and Regulation at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Pardee became an emeritus professor at Dana-Farber in 1992. He has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1968.

The PaJaMo experiment

The PaJaMo experiment was conducted by Pardee (the 'Pa' part of the experiment's name) and two collaborators at the Institut Pasteur in Paris - François Jacob ('Ja'), and Jacques Monod ('Mo'). Monod had previously spent many years studying enzyme production by E. coli bacteria, and in particular he had developed a system to genetically manipulate the bacterium's system of producing beta galactosidase, which controls its lactose metabolism.

The PaJaMo experiment was a series of conjugation—matings between 'male' and 'female' E. Coli bacteria in which the transfer of genes between the two was observed. Mutated 'female' bacteria were bred that had a non-functioning beta galactosidase production system. Then, normal 'male' bacteria were used to insert genes into the female bacteria which restored the system.This led to a surprise. Pardee, Jacob and Monod had expected that the bacteria would take a while to begin producing beta galactosidase Instead, production began almost immediately. This led biologists to question how genetic information could be converted to protein so quickly, and the answer was found in 1960 in messenger RNA.

The PaJoMo work was published in the Journal of Molecular Biology in one if its first editions in 1959 (see Pardee A B, Jacob F & Monod J. "The genetic control and cytoplasmic expression of “inducibility” in the synthesis of B-galactosidase by E. coli.", J. Mol. Biol. 1:165-78).

The Restriction Point

In the early 1970s Pardee identified that the cell cycle has a point in the 'G1' Phase where the cell, as it were, 'commits' to moving to the 'S' Phase. Pardee published on this so-called 'Restriction Point', sometimes called the 'Pardee Point', in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 1974 ("A restriction point for control of normal animal cell proliferation", Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1974; 71:1286-90).


Pardee's students have included Allan Wilson, who gained his PhD at Berkeley under Pardee's supervision in 1961.

External links

* [] The 'PaJoMo' paper from the "Journal of Molecular Biology".
* [] The 1974 PNAS paper on the Restriction Point.
* [] "Portrait of an Editorial Board Member: Arthur B. Pardee" in the journal Cell Cycle (1:2, 100-100, March/April 2002).
* [] U.S. patents that list Arthur Pardee as an inventor.
* [] [] interview: Science in the Blood, BioTechniques, 2006, vol. 41, no. 6, p. 659.

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