FREDERICK GRIFFITH (1879–1941) was a British bacteriologist whose focus was the epidemiology and pathology of bacterial pneumonia . In January 1928 he reported what is now known as Griffith\'s Experiment , the first widely accepted demonstrations of bacterial transformation , whereby a bacterium distinctly changes its form and function .
He showed that
* 1 Early life * 2 Ministry of Health office * 3 Griffith\'s Experiment
* 4 Impact of Griffith\'s discovery
* 4.1 Biomedical reception
* 5 Posthumous identification of transforming factor
* 5.1 Last days of Griffith and colleague * 5.2 Avery et al then Watson padding:0"> Double helix
* v * t * e
Fred Griffith was born in Hale,
MINISTRY OF HEALTH OFFICE
World War I
Griffith was sent pneumococci samples taken from patients throughout the country, amassed a large number, and would type—in other words classify—each pneumococci sample to search patterns of pneumonia epidemiology, and Griffith experimented on mice for improved understanding of its pathology. Griffith performed the pivotal experiments—actually very many experiments—during the 1920s.
Main article: Griffith\'s experiment
Pneumococci has two general forms—rough (R) and smooth (S). The S form is more virulent , and bears a capsule , which is a slippery polysaccharide coat—outside the peptidoglycan cell wall common among all classical bacteria—and prevents efficient phagocytosis by the host's innate immune cells . Injected subcutaneously with S form, mice succumbed to pneumonia and death within several days. However, the R form, lacking a capsule—its outer surface being cell wall—is relatively avirulent , and does not cause pneumonia as often.
When Griffith injected heat-killed S into mice, as expected, no disease ensued. When mice were injected with a mixture of heat-killed S and live R, however, pneumonia and death ensued. The live R had transformed into S—and replicated as such—often characterized as Griffith's Experiment. More accurately, point six of Griffith's abstract reports that R tended to transform into S if a large amount of live R, alone, were injected, and that adding much heat-killed S made transformation reliable Griffith also induced some pneumococci to transform back and forth.
Griffith also reported transformation of serological type—bacterial
antigenicity —distinct from presence or absence of a capsule.
Fred Neufeld , of the
Illustrating the plasticity of Streptococcus pneumoniae, the abstract of Griffith's paper reports, "The S form of Type I has been produced from the R form of Type II, and the R form of Type I has been transformed into the S form of Type II".
IMPACT OF GRIFFITH\'S DISCOVERY
One of America's most prominent pneumococcus experts, Oswald Avery , in New York at The Rockefeller Hospital—which opened in 1910 on The Rockefeller Institute's campus—initially explained that Griffith's experiments must have been poorly conducted and succumbed to contamination. Avery biographer and colleague at The Rockefeller Institute, microbiologist Rene Dubos , recruited by The Rockefeller Institute from France, later described Griffith's findings as "exploding a bombshell in the field of pneumococcal immunology".
Avery's associate Martin Dawson at The Rockefeller Hospital confirmed each of Griffith's reported findings. Even before Griffith's publication, Fred Neufeld had confirmed them as well, and was merely awaiting publication of Griffith's findings before publishing his confirmation. Over the following years, Avery's illness, Graves\' disease , kept him much out of his laboratory as other researchers in it experimented to determine, largely by process of elimination, which constituent was the transforming factor.
Microbiologists endeavored during the 1930s to dispel the monomorphist tenet, prevailing as institutional dogma, largely prevailing into the 21st century.
POSTHUMOUS IDENTIFICATION OF TRANSFORMING FACTOR
LAST DAYS OF GRIFFITH AND COLLEAGUE
The first Griffith Memorial Lecture indicates that Fred Griffith died on the night of 17 April 1941 —though the fourth lecture indicates that he died in his apartment in February 1941 —alongside friend and colleague William M. Scott amid an air raid during World War II's London Blitz . A few weeks earlier, Scott had become director of the laboratory, which, with the outbreak of war, had become Emergency Public Health Laboratory Service. Both dated 3 May 1941, his obituary in The Lancet mentioned the historical discovery briefly, and his obituary in British Medical Journal failed to mention it.
AVERY ET AL THEN WATSON "> Fred Griffith in 1936
By 1897 pneumococcal transformation had been shown to occur in vivo naturally, and it was further shown that treatment with streptomycin during dual infection by two pneumococcal strains could increase transformation—and virulence—while for the first time pneumococcal transformation was shown to occur in the respiratory tract. In 1969 it was shown in vivo that during drug treatment of a host, pneumococci could acquire genes from antibiotic-resistant streptococci, already in the host, and thereby the pneumococci could become resistant to erythromycin .
* ^ A B C D E Griffith F (January 1928). "The significance of
pneumococcal types" . Journal of Hygiene. 27 (2): 113–59. PMC
2167760 . PMID 20474956 . doi :10.1017/S0022172400031879 .
* ^ Musher DM (April 2011). "New modalities in treating
pneumococcal pneumonia". Hospital Practice (1995). 39 (2): 89–96.
PMID 21576901 . doi :10.3810/hp.2011.04.398 .
* ^ A B Chambers, Donald L. (1995). DNA: the double helix:
perspective and prospective at forty years. New York, N.Y: New York
Academy of Sciences. p. 49 and p. 185. ISBN 0-89766-905-3 .
* ^ A B C D E F Downie AW (November 1972). "Fourth Griffith
Memorial Lecture. Pneumococcal transformation—a backward view."
(PDF). Journal of General Microbiology. 73 (1): 1–11. PMID 4143929 .
doi :10.1099/00221287-73-1-1 .
* ^ A B C Lehrer S. Explorers of the Body: Dramatic Breakthroughs
in Medicine from Ancient Times to Modern Science, 2nd edn (Lincoln NE:
iUniverse, 2006), p 47.
* ^ U.S. National Library of Medicine. "The Oswald T. Avery
Collection". Profiles in Science. 31 January 2007.
* ^ McCarty M. The Transforming Principle: Discovering that Genes
are Made of
* WorldCat Identities * VIAF : 222341193 * LCCN : no2009192833 * IATH : w6mq7w8n
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