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Entering an unseen world and the discoveries of George Palade.

Moberg, CL. Entering an unseen world. A founding laboratory and origins of modern cell biology 1910-1974. The Rockefeller University Press, New York, 2012, pp. 499, ISBN 978-0-87470-063-3.

"For a scientist, it is a unique experience to live through a period in which his field of endeavor comes to bloom--to be witness to those rare moments when the dawn of understanding finally descends upon what appeared to be confusion only a while ago--to listen to the sound of darkness crumbling."

(George E. Palade)

"Entering an unseen world" by Carol L. Moberg presents a comprehensive description of advances made over six decades in cell biology, starting with its origin in cancer research and leading to its flourishing in the mid-1970s. In this book review, we will focus mostly on the discoveries and contributions made by George

Palade who is considered one of the founding fathers of modern cell biology. This book however is not a biography of individual scientists but rather a story of the laboratory at The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, which played a major role in the developments of modern cell biology. It also includes personal accounts from reputed scientists on their experiences during this "golden age" of cell biology at the Rockefeller Institute.

George Palade (1912-2008) was a world-renowned Romanian-born cell biologist. After having completed his medical studies in Bucharest in 1940, George Palade became a teaching assistant in the department of anatomy and embryology. Early on, he made the decision of pursuing a career in research and, following the suggestion of Grigore T. Popa, he joined the New York University Laboratory of Chambers in 1946. While attending a seminar, he met Albert Claude and was fascinated by his work. This prompted George Palade to apply to work as a research fellow with Albert Claude, and he thus received the invitation to join the Rockefeller Institute. Later on, he was appointed to the scientific staff and stayed on for the next twenty-eight years. Although Palade had a number of fundamental contributions to cell biology, he is best known for the discovery of ribosomes. In his study entitled "A small particulate component of the cytoplasm", Palade described small particles which he initially named "Palade bodies". Together with Siekvitz, he also showed that these particles, later renamed ribosomes, are involved in protein synthesis. Additionally, Palade and his collaborators contributed to innovations in cell fractionation which allowed for isolation of mitochondria with preserved structure and function and developed a new fixative named "Palade's Pickle" with which a much higher resolution of electron microscopy images was obtained. They mapped the structures of the endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria and Palade was the first to describe the membrane structure of mitochondria. With his collaborators, Palade described a transport system across the endothelium and identified the so-called Weibel-Palade bodies which play a role in coagulation and inflammation; he also described the neuronal synapses, the tight junctions and junctional complexes in glomerular cells and the secretory pathways of proteins from the endoplasmic reticulum towards the extracellular compartment. Palade was also one of the founding members of the American Society of Cell Biology.

The book illustrates how Palade was very influential on the work of many cell biologists and on the field of cell biology in general. His novel approach to cell biology integrated structure, biochemical properties and function of various cell components, and led to major developments and discoveries, while his groundbreaking work laid the foundations of modern cell biology. In 1974, for his contribution in advancing cell biology, George Palade, together with Albert Claude and Christian de Duve, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine.

With numerous accounts of personal experiences and detailed descriptions of the paths followed to new discoveries, this book provides an insider's view on some of the scientific advances and people who laid the foundations of modern cell biology.

Authors' contributions statement: IDO and AH contributed to the preparation, drafting, reviewing and final approval of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

Conflicts of interest: All authors--none to declare.

doi: 10.18683/germs.2017.1108

Ioana D. Olaru [1] *, Adriana Hristea [2]

Received: 29 January 2017; accepted: 29 January 2017.

[1] MD, Division of Clinical Infectious Diseases, Research Center Borstel, Borstel, Germany, Department of Microbiology, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester, United Kingdom; [2] MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Bucharest, National Institute for Infectious Diseases "Prof. Dr. Matei Bals", No. 1 Dr. Calistrat Grozovici Bucharest, 021105, Romania.

* Corresponding author: Ioana D. Olaru, MD, Division of Clinical Infectious Diseases, Research Center Borstel, Borstel, Germany, Department of Microbiology, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Infirmary Square, Leicester, LE1 5WW, United Kingdom.
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Author:Olaru, Ioana D.; Hristea, Adriana
Article Type:Book review
Date:Mar 1, 2017
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