It's in the Blood! A Documentary History of Linus Pauling, Hemoglobin and Sickle Cell Anemia All Documents and Media  
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Drs. Pauling and Castle: "The Evolution of Molecular Biology."
Drs. Pauling and Castle: "The Evolution of Molecular Biology." 1969.
Producer unknown.

Pauling's Response to Castle. (3:11)

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Linus Pauling: My memory is that this was the occasion that Dr. Castle began to talk, to tell the story about what other people and he had done on sickle cell anemia. And I was mildly interested in the fact that the red cells were twisted out of shape, but not very interested, because I thought the red cell is so complicated that it will be decades before anyone gets any significant understanding of it, its structure. And I wasn’t listening very hard, being polite of course, to suggest that I was paying attention when he said that the red cells do not sickle in arterial circulation or in the presence of partial pressure of oxygen, but sickle in, if the partial pressure of oxygen was low.

And immediately I said to him, and the others there, I wonder if this couldn’t be a disease of the hemoglobin molecule? That the genetic constitution is such, that these people manufacture a sort of hemoglobin that is sticky, so that the molecules stick together and form long rods which then attract one another by van der Waals attraction, forming a long, needle-like crystal that twists the red cell out of shape. And these mutually complimentary regions must come into atomic contact, the oxygen molecules in oxyhemoglobin are warts on the molecule that hold them four angstroms farther apart and the van der Waals forces of attraction no longer operates effectively and so the sickling doesn’t occur in the oxyhemoglobin.

And I asked does carbon monoxide prevent the sickling; does carbon monoxide prevent the sickling? My memory is that Dr. Castle said that he didn’t know whether it did or not, but he mentioned something about carbon dioxide, but...

William Castle: No, I should have said carbon monoxide today. Pauling’s [unintelligible]

Linus Pauling: Well Hahn and Gillespie. Carbon monoxide. Well, it may be that you answered that it did. At any rate I said, as I recall, something like, "it’s pretty clear, it seems quite obvious that the hemoglobin and oxyhemoglobin are behaving differently, and differently from normal hemoglobin, so I think it’s likely that this is a disease of the hemoglobin molecule. Do you think that when I get back to Pasadena, I might check up on this?" And Dr. Castle said well he didn’t see why not, or who was there to stop me, or something like that.


Creator: Linus Pauling
Associated: William B. Castle, Elizabeth Gillespie, E. Vernon Hahn
Clip ID: 1969v.3-pauling

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Creator: Linus Pauling, William B. Castle

Date: 1969
Genre: sound
ID: 1969v.3
Copyright: More Information

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