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Fellows Directory

Anthony Linnane

Professor Anthony Linnane AM FRS


Elected: 1980


In 1965, Anthony Linnane discovered that some antibacterial antibiotics (for example, chloramphenicol, erythromycin, tetracycline and lincomycin) are specific inhibitors of mitochondrial protein synthesis. This class of antibiotic is now routinely used to distinguish between mitochondrial and cytosolic protein synthesis in eukaryotic cells (other than plant cells). Antibiotic-resistant mutations were subsequently isolated by Anthony and shown to be located in mitochondrial DNA. The isolation of the first erythromycin-resistant mutant enabled him to apply formal genetic procedures to the analysis of the cytoplasmic (mitochondrial) genetic systems in yeast; later these procedures were adapted by others to a wide range of organisms. Anthony and colleagues also developed the concept of mitochondrial gene purification in cytoplasmic petite mutants, to demonstrate the existence of petite mutants which completely lack mitochondrial DNA and most recently to develop procedures for relating genetic and physical maps of the mitochondrial genome to one another. He also contributed to our understanding of the function of the mitochondrial membrane.

Professor Anthony Linnane AM FRS died on 11 November 2017.