Uromodulin and its two discoverers: Igor Tamm and Frank Lappin Horsfall, Jr.


In 1985 a glycoprotein was isolated from urine of pregnant women and called uromodulin. This protein is the most abundant one in human urine and it is a potential immunoregulatory molecule associated with nephrolithiasis and urinary host defence. Thanks to demonstration by the amino acid sequencing, it turned out the protein backbone of uromodulin and another “urinary mucoprotein”, discovered about 35 years before by Igor Tamm and Frank Lappin Horsfall, Jr., are identical. Dr Tamm and Dr Horsfall, Jr. did not take interest in nephrology but their names, by coincidence, are found in each nephrological manual. The most important data from the lives of these scientists are worth reminding.

Dr Igor Tamm (1922-1995) was born in Estonia and died in the USA. He was a physician and a pioneer in the Rockefeller Institute studies on virus replication and its chemical inhibition. In 1959 he became the head of the Virology Laboratory, succeeding his mentor Dr Horsfall, Jr., who left the Rockefeller Institute.

Dr Frank Lappin Horsfall, Jr. (1906- 1971) was born and died in the USA. He was a clinician and a virologist, whose influential leadership came primarily through his scientific experimentation, both in the laboratory and the clinic. He worked in the Rockefeller Hospital from 1934 to 1960, then he became the Director of the Sloan-Kettering Institute. Together with Dr Tamm, he initiated a series of chemotherapeutical experiments with the benzimidazoles and their derivatives on influenza virus infection. He authorized over 200 publications and received several honorary degrees.

Keywords: Igor Tamm, Frank Lappin Horsfall, Tamm –Horsfall protein (THP), uromodulin

Ci spiace, ma questo articolo è disponibile soltanto in Inglese Americano.