Alberts developed a process called DNA cellulose chromatography, which allowed him to see what proteins bound to DNA. He’d use his findings as an investigational thread to follow towards important processes in DNA replication. In 1970 he identified gene 32 protein, a single-strand DNA binding protein, that was essential for replicating DNA. 5 years later, he’d identified what he termed a protein machine: six proteins working together to synthesise a bacterial virus’ DNA in a way that, it turned out, closely mimics the mechanisms in multicellular organisms.
From an article in The Lancet, by Dara Mohammadi.
Video: Scientific Highlights from the Cold Spring Harbor Oral Histories
Selected Lab Publications
- Alberts, B.M., Amodio, F.J., Jenkins, M., Gutmann, E.D., and Ferris, F.L. Studies with DNA-cellulose chromatography. I. DNA-binding proteins from Escherichia coli. Cold Spring Harb. Symp. Quant. Biol. 33, 289-305 (1969).
- Fresco, J.R. and Alberts, B.M. The accommodation of noncomplementary bases in helical polyribonucleotides and deoxyribonucleic acids. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 46, 311-321 (1960).
- Alberts, B.M. and Frey, L. T4 bacteriophage gene 32: a structural protein in the replication and recombination of DNA. Nature 227, 1313-1318 (1970).
- Barry, J. and Alberts, B. In vitro complementation as an assay for new proteins required for bacteriophage T4 DNA replication: purification of the complex specified by T4 genes 44 and 62. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 69, 2717-2721 (1972).
- Yamamoto, K.R. and Alberts, B. The interaction of estradiol-receptor protein with the genome: an argument for the existence of undetected specific sites. Cell 4, 301-310 (1975).
- Morris, C.F., Sinha, N.K., and Alberts, B.M. Reconstruction of bacteriophage T4 DNA replication apparatus from purified components: rolling circle replication following de novo chain initiation on a single-stranded circular DNA template. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 72, 4800-4804 (1975).
- Alberts, B., Worcel, A., and Weintraub, H. On the biological implications of chromatin structure. In “The Organization and Expression of the Eukaryotic Genome” (E.M. Bradbury and K. Javaherian, eds.), pp. 165-191. Academic Press, New York (l977).
- Liu, C.-C., Burke, R.L., Hibner, U., Barry, J., and Alberts, B.M. Probing DNA replication mechanisms with the T4 bacteriophage in vitro system. Cold Spring Harb. Symp. Quant. Biol. 43, 469-487 (1979).
- Liu, L.F., Liu, C.-C., and Alberts, B.M. Type II DNA topoisomerases: enzymes that can unknot a topologically knotted DNA molecule via a reversible double-strand break. Cell 19, 697-707 (1980).
- Cousens, L.S. and Alberts, B.M. Accessibility of newly synthesized chromatin to histone acetylase. J. Biol. Chem. 257, 3945-3949 (1982).
- Alberts, B.M., Barry, J., Bedinger, P., Formosa, T., Jongeneel, C.V., and Kreuzer, K.N. Studies on DNA replication in the T4 bacteriophage in vitro system. Cold Spring Harb. Symp. Quant. Biol. 47, 655-668 (1983).
- Foe, V.E. and Alberts, B.M. Studies of nuclear and cytoplasmic behavior during the five mitotic cycles that precede gastrulation in Drosophila embryogenesis. J. Cell Science 61, 31-70 (1983).
- Alberts, B.M. The DNA enzymology of protein machines. Cold Spring Harb. Symp. Quant. Biol. 49, 1-12 (1984).
- Alberts, B.M. Protein machines mediate the basic genetic processes. Trends in Genetics 1, 26-30 (1985).
- Alberts, B.M. Limits to growth: In biology, small science is good science. Cell 41, 337-338 (1985).
- Alberts, B.M. The function of the hereditary materials: biological catalyses reflect the cell’s evolutionary history. Amer. Zool. 26, 781-796 (1986).
- Formosa, T. and Alberts, B.M. DNA synthesis dependent on genetic recombination: characterization of a reaction catalyzed by purified bacteriophage T4 proteins. Cell 47, 793-806 (1986).
- Selick, H.E., Barry, J., Cha, T.-A., Munn, M., Nakanishi, M., Wong, M.L., and Alberts, B.M. Studies on the T4 bacteriophage DNA replication system. In “Mechanisms of DNA Replication and Recombination,” UCLA Symposium on Molecular and Cellular Biology, New Series (T. Kelly and R. McMacken, eds.), pp. 183-214. Alan R. Liss, New York (1987).
- Alberts, B.M. Prokaryotic DNA replication mechanisms. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B. 317, 395-420 (1987).
- Kellogg, D., Mitchison, T., and Alberts, B.M. Behavior of microtubules and actin filaments in living Drosophila embryos. Development 103, 675-686 (1988).
- Miller, K.G. and Alberts, B.M. F-actin affinity chromatography: technique for isolating previously unidentified actin-binding proteins. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 86, 4808-4812 (1989).
- Kellogg, D.R., Field, C.M., and Alberts, B.M. Identification of microtubule-associated proteins in the centrosome, spindle, and kinetochore of the early Drosophila embryo. J. Cell Biol. 109, 2977-2991 (1989).
- Bonne-Andrea, C., Wong, M.L., and Alberts, B.M. In vitro replication through nucleosomes without histone displacement. Nature 343, 719-726 (1990).
- Liu, B., Wong, M.L., Tinker, R.L., Geiduschek, E.P., and Alberts, B.M. The DNA replication fork can pass RNA polymerase without displacing the nascent transcript. Nature 366: 33-39 (1993).
- Alberts, B. The Cell as a Collection of Protein Machines: Preparing the Next Generation of Molecular Biologists. Cell 92: 291-294 (1998).
- Alberts, B. DNA replication and recombination. Nature 421: 431-435 (January 2003).