- John Kendrew
name = John Cowdery Kendrewy
caption = John Kendrew
24 March 1917
death_date = death date and age|1997|8|23|1917|3|24|df=y
Royal Air Force
University of Cambridge
Nobel Prize for Chemistry(1962)
Sir John Cowdery Kendrew (
24 March 1917– 23 August 1997) was an English biochemistand crystallographer who shared the 1962 Nobel Prize in Chemistrywith Max Perutz; their group in the Cavendish Laboratoryinvestigated the structure of heme-containing proteins.
He was born in
Oxford, son of Wilford George Kendrew, reader in climatologyin the University of Oxfordand Evelyn May Graham Sandburg, art historian. He was educated at the Dragon Schoolin Oxford, as well as Clifton Collegein Bristol, 1930-1936. He attended Trinity College, Cambridge in 1936, as a Major Scholar, graduating in chemistry in 1939. He spent the early months of World War IIdoing research on reaction kinetics, and then became a member of the Air Ministry Research Establishment, working on radar. In 1940 he became engaged in operational research at the Royal Air Forceheadquarters, holding the honorary rank of Wing Commander R.A.F.
During the war years, he became increasingly interested in biochemical problems, and decided to work on the structure of proteins.
In 1945 he approached Dr.
Max Perutzin the Cavendish Laboratoryin Cambridge. Joseph Barcroft, a respiratory physiologist, suggested he might make a comparative protein crystallographic study of adult and fetal sheep hemoglobin, and he started that work.
In 1947 he became a Fellow of Peterhouse, and
MRC[the Medical Research Council] agreed to create a research unit for the study of the molecular structure of biological systems, under the direction of Sir Lawrence Bragg. In 1954 he became a Reader at the Davy-Faraday Laboratoryof the Royal Institutionin London.
Crystal structure of
Kendrew shared the 1962
Nobel Prizefor chemistrywith Max Perutzfor determining the first atomic structures of proteins using X-ray crystallography. Their work was done at what is now the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biologyin Cambridge. Kendrew determined the structure of the protein myoglobin, which stores oxygen in musclecells.
In 1947 the
MRCagreed to make a research unit for the Study of the Molecular Structure of Biological Systems. The original studies were on the structure of sheep hemoglobin, but when this work had progressed as far as was possible using the resources then available, Kendrew embarked on the study of myoglobin, a molecule only a quarter the size of the hemoglobin molecule. His initial source of raw material was horseheart, but the crystals thus obtained were too small for X-ray analysis. Kendrew realized that the oxygen-conserving tissue of diving mammalscould offer a better prospect, and a chance encounter led to his acquiring a large chunk of whalemeat from Peru. Whale myoglobin did give large crystals with clean X-ray diffraction patterns. However, the problem still remained insurmountable, until in 1953 Max Perutzdiscovered that the phase problemin analysis of the diffraction patterns could be solved by multiple isomorphous replacement— comparison of patterns from several crystals; one from the native protein, and others that had been soaked in solutions of heavy metals and had metal ions introduced in different well-defined positions. An electron density map at 6 angstrom(0.6 nanometre) resolution was obtained by 1957, and by 1959 an atomic model could be built at 2 angstrom (0.2 nm) resolution.
In 1963 Kendrew became one of the founders of the
European Molecular Biology Organization; as well, he founded and was for many years editor-in-chief of the Journal of Molecular Biology. He became Fellow of the American Society of Biological Chemistsin 1967 and honorary member of the International Academy of Science. In 1974 he succeeded in persuading governments to establish the European Molecular Biology Laboratoryin Heidelbergand became its first director. From 1974 to 1979 he was a Trustee of the British Museum, and from 1974 to 1988 he was successively Secretary General, Vice-President, and President of the International Council of Scientific Unions.
After his retirement from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Kendrew became President of St. John's College, Oxford, a post he held from 1981-1987. From 1974-79 he was a Trustee of the British Museum and from 1974 to 1988 he was successively Secretary General, Vice-President and President of the International Council of Scientific Unions. Kendrew's entry in Who's Who lists ten other important National and International committees on which he served as either member or chairman.
*Citation | id = PMID:14031911 | url= http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14031911 | last=KENDREW | first=J C | publication-date=1962 Oct | year=1962 | title=The structure of globular proteins. | volume=4 | issue= | periodical=Comp. Biochem. Physiol. | pages=249-52
*Citation | id = PMID:14455128 | url= http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14455128 | last=KENDREW | first=J C | publication-date=1961 Dec | year=1961 | title=The three-dimensional structure of a protein molecule. | volume=205 | issue= | periodical=Sci. Am. | pages=96-110
*Citation | id = PMID:13783432 | url= http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/13783432 | last=WATSON | first=H C | last2=KENDREW | first2=J C | publication-date=1961 May 20 | year=1961 | title=The amino-acid sequence of sperm whale myoglobin. Comparison between the amino-acid sequences of sperm whale myoglobin and of human hemoglobin. | volume=190 | issue= | periodical=Nature | pages=670-2
*Citation | id = PMID:13752474 | url= http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/13752474 | last=KENDREW | first=J C | last2=WATSON | first2=H C | last3=STRANDBERG | first3=B E | last4=DICKERSON | first4=R E | publication-date=1961 May 20 | year=1961 | title=The amino-acid sequence x-ray methods, and its correlation with chemical data. | volume=190 | issue= | periodical=Nature | pages=666-70
*Citation | id = PMID:13672267 | url= http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/13672267 | last=KENDREW | first=J C | publication-date=1959 Jul | year=1959 | title=Structure and function in myoglobin and other proteins. | volume=18 | issue=2, Part 1 | periodical=Fed. Proc. | pages=740-51
*Citation | id = PMID:13517261 | url= http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/13517261 | last=KENDREW | first=J C | last2=BODO | first2=G | last3=DINTZIS | first3=H M | last4=PARRISH | first4=R G | publication-date=1958 Mar 8 | year=1958 | title=A three-dimensional model of the myoglobin molecule obtained by x-ray analysis. | volume=181 | issue=4610 | periodical=Nature | pages=662-6
*Citation | id = PMID:13369569 | url= http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/13369569 | last=INGRAM | first=D J | last2=KENDREW | first2=J C | publication-date=1956 Oct 27 | year=1956 | title=Orientation of the haem group in myoglobin and its relation to the polypeptide chain direction. | volume=178 | issue=4539 | periodical=Nature | pages=905-6
*Citation | id = PMID:13235845 | url= http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/13235845 | last=KENDREW | first=J C | last2=PARRIS | first2=R G | publication-date=1955 Jan 29 | year=1955 | title=Imidazole complexes of myoglobin and the position of the haem group. | volume=175 | issue=4448 | periodical=Nature | pages=206-7
*Citation | id = PMID:13214049 | url= http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/13214049 | last=KENDREW | first=J C | last2=PARRISH | first2=R G | last3=MARRACK | first3=J R | last4=ORLANS | first4=E S | publication-date=1954 Nov 20 | year=1954 | title=The species specificity of myoglobin. | volume=174 | issue=4438 | periodical=Nature | pages=946-9
*Citation | id = PMID:18144277 | url= http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18144277 | last=KENDREW | first=J C | publication-date=1949 Apr | year=1949 | title=Foetal haemoglobin. | volume=8 | issue=30 | pages=80-5
* Thread of Life by Sir John Kendrew: (ISBN 0-7135-0618-0) G.Bell, 1966;
* Max Perutz [http://img.cryst.bbk.ac.uk/BCA/obits/jck.html obituary] of John Kendrew
* [http://nobelprize.org/chemistry/laureates/1962/kendrew-bio.html Nobel website biography]
NAME= Kendrew, John Cowdery
SHORT DESCRIPTION= English
biochemistand crystallographer who shared the 1962 Nobel Prize in Chemistrywith Max Perutz
DATE OF BIRTH=
24 March 1917
PLACE OF BIRTH=
DATE OF DEATH= 1997-8-23
PLACE OF DEATH=
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