By Albert Szent-Györgyi
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2 9 ) , which inhib ited cell division completely in 10~^ Μ concentration. CH3~C-- CH3-CH—C- FIG. 29. tom). Methyl- ( t o p ) , ethyl- ( m i d d l e ) , and propylglyoxal (bot Methylglyoxal differs from trioses only by one H2O, and trioses are among the most common metabolites. Accord ingly, methylglyoxal was found, by various researchers, to be formed by bacteria, yeast, animal cells, and tissues under various circumstances. Evidently, it is easily formed, and the cell would have no diflSculty in making it should it want to use it for its regulations.
The acceptor nature of this group is strongly boosted up by the neighboring CO and the extensive conjugated system on which the CO*s are superimposed. Nature uses such vicinal CO's where it wants to stop proliferation, proUferation of bacteria in the present case. Where nature wants not only to inhibit but to kill she builds these CO's on top of an extensive system of conju gated double bonds. Living nature is based on a relatively small number of basic principles which are cleverly adapted to the most varied ends.
To test the biological activity of such a formation, a greater number of cyclic and aliphatic a-ketoaldehydes were synthe sized, including the whole homolog series of methylglyoxal up to Ci3. All members were found to inhibit cell division at a low concentration (Egyiid, 1967). The strongest inhibition was found in the lowest members of the aliphatic series, in methyl-, ethyl-, and propylglyoxal (Fig. 2 9 ) , which inhib ited cell division completely in 10~^ Μ concentration. CH3~C-- CH3-CH—C- FIG.
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