The Nucleolus. (2nd Edition)

The Nucleolus. (2nd Edition)

BIOCHEMICAL EDUCATION July 1978 Vol. 6 No. 3 Chemistry and Control of Enzyme Reactions and the interactions between calcium ions and cyclic nucleot...

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BIOCHEMICAL EDUCATION

July 1978 Vol. 6 No. 3

Chemistry and Control of Enzyme Reactions

and the interactions between calcium ions and cyclic nucleotides. Bearing in mind that the book's title includes the phrase "mechanisms of action" I was disappointed to find that protein kinases (which are presumably involved in all the actions of cyclic nucleotides) are covered in 6~ pages. The chapter inevitably makes several glaring omissions: for example, the existence of two distinct isoenzymes of cyclic AMP dependent protein kinase is not mentioned. Since one of the most intriguing problems in the area of cyclic nucleotide research concerns the respective roles of the two isoenzymes this omission is not trivial. The second part of the book covers the roles played by cyclic nucleotides in various cell types or organs, ranging from relatively well-defined systems such as heart to poorly understood systems such as the secretion of lysosomal enzymes from polymorphonuclear leucocytes. The system in which the role of cyclic AMP is best understood at the molecular level, the regulation of glycogen metabolism in skeletal muscle, is not covered in this book, presumably because it has been adequately reviewed elsewhere. The fact that tissues are considered separately leads to the potential drawback that no overall synthesis of the available information is attempted. This is not, however, a serious disadvantage because each chapter is well written and concludes with an assessment of the current understanding of the role of cyclic nucleotides in the system concerned. The third and fourth sections of the book contain chapters covering the role of cyclic nucleotides in the nervous system and in several diseases such as hypertension and skin disorders. These chapters bring home the points that cyclic nueleotides are involved in a great diversity of processes and that cyclic nucleotide research is no longer (if indeed it ever was) the preserve of biochemists. This book then does not cover the molecular events underlying the actions of cyclic nucleotides in any great detail but it does illustrate well the diversity of these actions. It is well produced, contains very few printing errors and is reasonably up to date - reference up to 1976 are included. At £17.50 it is not perhaps for the average biochemist (or even the cyclic nucleotide specialist) but I would consider it a useful acquisition for many departmental libraries.

B y K. G. Scrimgeour. Pp, 633. Academic Press Inc. (London) Ltd., 1977, H a r d covers £24.50/$47.90. As expected from Academic l~ress, this is a beautifully produced book and appears to be free of misprints and related errors. Against this has to be balanced the length of time between the author writing his preface (April 1976) and the publication date in the U.K., 30th December 1977, which has meant that, reading in 1978, I could find no reference later than 1975. In opening his preface, Dr. Scrimgeour states that his book is a description of the properties of enzyme molecules. One cannot disagree with this and I would say that although at first sight he has constructed a magnificent encyclopaedia of information on enzyme reactions, closer examination suggests that it is a memory-prompter rather than a primary source. For example, the paragraph headed 'Transition-state Analogues' gives two references to the review literature but no example to explain the meaning of the term. To be fair, the author in his introductory chapter does mention the need to condense many topics and give references instead, preferably to review articles. He has assumed his readers to be physical chemists, senior biochemistry students, or clinical researchers, and to be familiar with the properties of proteins. This may account for the appearance of the equations on p. 91, in a summary of chemical kinetics, log (At - A~o)-- - 2.3kt and k = 0.693/q without the numbers 2.3 and 0.693 being explained. The first equation is in any case wrong, and reference to the figure shows that At is absorbance at time t. The left-hand expression should be log (At A~) - log (A0 - - A~). To give a further example, I did not find, as a one-time chemistry graduate whose mentors were Hughes and Ingold, that the summary of organic reaction mechanisms was sufficient to refresh my memory, but of course, if I followed Scrimgeour's instructions, I should have read Breslow's book (1969) on this topic. On the other hand, the account of acid-base catalysis seemed useful. The text is organised into three sections of roughly equal length; fundamental principles, examples of enzymes catalysis, and control. The principles cover structure, isolation, reaction mechanisms, kinetics and theories of enzyme catalysis. The examples are partitioned into enzymes without prosthetic groups, coenzymes, protein coenzymes, covalent catalysis and metalactivated and metallo enzymes. Control covers allosteric control, four examples of regulated enzyme reactions, the physical organisation of enzymes, chemotherapeutic control, and complex control systems including cyclic AMP, hormones, repressors and the chemistry of taste and smell. Academic Press recognise that this is not a book for class adoption, and presumably have priced it accordingly. I agree with the author that senior biochemistry students or research workers in biochemistry and connected fields will form its readership, and to those categories I would add teachers of enzymology. D. G. Herries -

Cyclic 3', 5'-Nueleotldes: Mechanism of Action Edited by H. C r a m e r a n d J. Schultz. Pp 554. J o h n Wiley a n d Sons, Chichester a n d London. 1977. £17.50 or $34.50 In the twenty-odd years that have passed since its discovery by Sutherland and his group, cyclic AMP has been implicated in almost every conceivable regulatory process in higher organisms. It is therefore not surprising that the twenty-two chapters of this book, each of which was written by an expert in the field, cover a very wide range of subjects. Indeed the editors acknowledge this by suggesting that the book can be considered in four parts. In the first section, the basic biochemistry of cyclic nucleotides is considered: chapters cover adenyl cyclase, protein kinases, the activation of phosphodiesterases, analogues of cyclic nucleotides

Department of Biochemistry The University of Glasgow Glasgow, G12 8QQ, Scotland

63

H.G. Nimmo

The Nudeolus. (2nd Edition) By E. G. Jordan. N u m b e r 16 in the C a r o l i n a Biology Readers series edited by J. J. H e a d a n d p u b l i s h e d by the Carolina Biological Supply C o m p a n y , Burlington, North Carolina, U.S.A. 1978. 16 pages. $1.50 (or 10 or more, e a c h $1.15) Many aspects of the nucleolus are not clearly understood making this subject more difficult to write about than some. Bearing this in mind this 16 page book provides a reasonably comprehensive and readable account. However I feel that there is perhaps a little too much detail given on ultrastructure, particularly since the function of many of the structural details have not yet been well defined. Instead a more detailed account of the better understood aspects such as RNA synthesis and processing might have been preferable. The article does contain one unfortunate error in that two of the figures depict the order of ribosomal RNA sequences within the precursor RNA and within the gene as being 18S-28S-5.8S. This is now known to be incorrect and should read 18S-5.8S-28S. In conclusion this booklet provides a much needed introductory account of the structure and function of the nucleolus, suitable for first year undergraduates and perhaps also sixth form students. However, there are several places where the text might have been better revised and updated in this second edition. Len Hall Courtauld Institute of Biochemistry The Middlesex Hospital Medical School London, U.K.