Professor Edwin Taylor FRS
Edwin Taylor made significant contributions to our understanding of biological motile systems. The biochemical investigation of microtubule systems was opened up by Edwin’s demonstration in 1965 that colchicine, a known inhibitor of the anaphase movement of chromosomes, is strongly bound to cells containing microtubules or organelles such as mitotic spindles, cilia, and sperm tails composed of them. This discovery led to the recognition of tubulin by Edwin and his collaborators in 1967, and to a large field of later work in which he continued to play an important part. He then turned to muscle, and his investigations by rapid reaction methods published in 1969–71 established that the hydrolysis of ATP by myosin proceeds by the rapid binding and cleavage of substrate, followed by slow release of products. This again stimulated a whole new field of investigation. This analysis of the enzymatic action of myosin is central to all present-day theories of muscular contraction. Edwin has also made important contributions to the study of actomyosin systems in motile cells other than muscle.