My life with bacteriophage O29.

Abstract:

In this article, I make a survey of my scientific work over 52 years. During my postdoctoral stay in Severo Ochoa's lab, I determined the direction of reading of the genetic message, and I discovered two proteins that I showed to be involved in the initiation of protein synthesis. Back in Spain, the work on bacteriophage Ø29 for 45 years has been very rewarding. I can say that I was lucky because I did not expect that Ø29 was going to give so many interesting results. But I worked hard, with a lot of dedication and enthusiasm, and I was there when the luck arrived. I would like to stress our work on the control of Ø29 DNA transcription but, in particular, on the finding for the first time of a protein covalently linked to the 5' ends of Ø29 DNA that we later showed to be the primer for the initiation of the phage DNA replication. Very relevant was the discovery of the Ø29 DNA polymerase with its properties of extremely high processivity and strand displacement capacity, together with its high fidelity. The Ø29 DNA polymerase has become an ideal enzyme for DNA amplification, both rolling circle and whole-genome linear amplification. I am also very proud of the many brilliant students and collaborators that I have had over the years that have become excellent scientists. This Reflections article is not intended to be the end of my scientific career. I expect to keep working for many years to come.

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