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March 5, 1938


JAMA. 1938;110(10):743-744. doi:10.1001/jama.1938.02790100041014

The extraordinary ease with which chemical transformations proceed at physiologically normal temperatures in the organism, in contrast to the difficulty involved in conducting similar reactions in the laboratory, is attributable to the existence of catalytically active agents. Although some of the changes can be directly related to the operation of physical laws, certainly the majority of the many hundreds of known bodily processes owe their amazing specificity and velocity of reaction to biocatalysts. Obviously, therefore, a clearer concept of the mechanism of the fundamental processes of metabolism which occur in every living cell and on which the life of these structural units depends can be gained from a better understanding of the substances which influence the course of these primary chemical mechanisms. Ever since investigators have concerned themselves with the chemistry of vital processes, the proteins have exercised a peculiar fascination. Not only are the proteins the fundamental building material