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Main page | Structure | Departments | Department of Biochemistry | German Valislyevich Troitskiy - founder of the Crimean biochemical school

German Valislyevich Troitskiy - founder of the Crimean biochemical school

2013 marked centenary of the birth of German Valislyevich Troitskiy – Honoured Science Worker of Ukraine, holder of Palladin’s Prize, corresponding member of the Academy of Science of Ukraine, M. D. in Biology, Ph. D. in  Medicine, Professor. For almost 40 years he was the Head of the Chair of Biochemistry in the Crimean medical institute.  But his most precious achievement is training the whole pleiad of scholars dedicated to science and striving for new discoveries.

His dispute with some former managers of the institute became a classic: what is more important for a university – to train good students or good professors who will train good students? The answer is clear for anyone. The university that doesn’t train specialists for itself is going to fail. To train a good specialist just knowledge is not enough. The figure of professor plays here a significant role. He must be able to cultivate a love of learning in his students.

German Vasilyevich was a great teacher. He possessed ingenuous mind and a wide range of scientific knowledge in culture, history and natural science. His constant generation of new ideas, extraordinary intellect, zest for life and great sense of humour  had a great impact on his students. A pleiad of students of German Vasilyevich and students of his students formed the Crimean biochemical school.

Troitskiy German Vasilyevich was born on 19 November, 1913 in a family of an advocate in Kazan’.  From 1921 to 1931 he attended secondary school first in Simbirsk, then moved to Stavropol with is family. In 1932 German Vasilyevich entered the medical faculty at the Rostov medical institute and graduated from it in 1937. Troitskiy began his research activity already during his study, continued it in research institute in Rostov-on-Do and in 1940 he defended his Ph. D. thesis in medicine. But his life was dramatically changed by the Great Patriotic war. Almost since the very beginning of it German Vasilyevich was in the active army. He went from Stalingrad all the way to Berlin, was awarded the Order of the Red Star and the Distinguished Service Medal. Together with 51st army German Vasilyevich relieved the Crimean peninsula from fascists in 1944. So he came to the Crimea for the first time. Already after several years it would become his second motherland for many decades. After the war Troitskiy settled in Moscow and continued his research. Finally, on 19 March, 1951 German Vasilyevich brilliantly defended his post-doctoral thesis devoted to the biochemistry of vitamin A. Georgievsky Sergey Ivanovich, the director of the Crimean medical institute, was present at his thesis defense. The new director invited young talented Doctor of Biological Sciences to the Crimea and proposed him to take the lead at the chair of biochemistry in Simferopol. After some contemplation, German Vasilyevich accepted this proposal and on 11 April 1951 he was transferred to work in the Crimean medical institute by the order of the Ministry of Public Health of the USSR. 

Here Troitskiy carried out his most important studies that became popular all around the world. He developed new methods, advanced a theory of preimmunity, discovered new scientific area – pathological anatomy of protein. Although his working conditions were difficult: there was severe shortage of reagents, labware and staff. German Vasilyevich often remembered that he had to saw off the lamp-holder of blown bulb to use its glass portion as a chemical flask. At the chemist’s Troitskiy used to buy distilled water for his experiments. At the beginning of the 50s Troitskiy predicted the importance of studies concerning human serum proteins in health and disease, having suggested any disease to start with the damage of molecules and the manifestations of disease to affect the main molecules – proteins. These thoughts of Troitskiy have been developed by his followers and are still relevant.

Any scientific research starts with the choice of method. If there isn’t adequate one, it needs to be invented. Academician Pavlov I. P. wrote that science develops as long as new research methods appear. Another Nobel laureate Academician Landau L. D. formulated more precisely: “Method is more important than a discovery”. At the chair of biochemistry headed by Troitskiy G. V. everyone followed this rule and paid great attention to the invention and modernization of equipment and techniques fractionizing proteins and studying their physical and chemical properties. Many staff members worked with pleasure in the experimental workshop affiliated with the chair organized by students of Troitskiy, Kobozev and Kiryukhin. This workshop was perfectly equipped. There were: milling machine, lathe, drilling machine, precise measuring equipment.

Devices produced at the chair were originally constructed and unique in the Soviet Union and sometimes in Europe that made possible to conduct extraordinary studies. Global practice shows that the author developing a new research method creates also the necessary specially crafted device and starts to carry out the most interesting and important experiments yet before publishing their results. After publication other authors mainly specify the research information.

The first research method to study blood proteins in clinic and experiment was optic (free) electrophoresis fractionizing proteins according to their electric charge. First electrophoretic device was created by Swedish scholar Arne Tiselius who was awarded the Nobel prize for this in 1948. But his device was bulky, unhandy and took 10-15 ml of albunimun solution  for 1 trial. Troitskiy G. V. improved optic system installing inclined cylinder lens. The size of device decreased  from 6,0 m to 1,5 m. Kobozev G. V. improved electrophoretic cell that helped to conduct trial with 1,0–3,0 ml of protein. To make easier mathematic calculations concerning electrophoretic mobility Kobozev constructed mechanic coulometer automatically fixing the main readings of electrophoregram. Electrophoresis in the apparatus constructed by A. Tiselius couldn’t carry out numerous examinations of patients. That’s why in clinics they began to use electrophoresis with filter paper as a supporting medium. In those years almost all the chairs and staff members of many hospitals started electrophoretic study of blood protein in different pathologies. The staff members of the chair of biochemistry developed over 10 different modifications of devices for paper electrophoresis. That’s why the chair of biochemistry under the guidance of Professor Troitskiy G. V. was coordinating and consulting center for research works of the institute.

Professor Troitskiy G. V. together with the staff members of the chair of biochemistry (1983).

Later on they began to use gel agar as a supporting medium for electrophoresis. Kobozev G. V. and Azhitskiy G. Yu. developed simple method to excrete the low molecular component of agar – agarose and constructed devices functioning with agar and agarose gel. The experience of work of the chair is summarized in Troitskiy’s monograph “Electrophoresis of Proteins” published in Kharkov in 1962. When the industry began to produce the sets of reagents for conducting electrophoresis in polyacrylamide gel – transparent, easily coloured, Kosik O. G. and Kiryukhin I. F. developed more manageable apparatuses for electrophoresis in this supporting medium.

Another achievement in methodology was the invention of absolutely new method of isoelectric focusing. Separation of protein compounds and receiving monocomponent protein preparations  are the most important tasks in many areas of human activity (for example, for the receiving medical substances or for the diagnostics of diseases). One of the most effective ways for the separation of proteins is the method of isoelectric focusing based on the motion of proteins under the influence of electric field in the solution with the concentration of hydrogen protons gradually changing along the direction of motion of proteins (i.e. in the so called  gradient pH). In regular electrophoresis the proteins are separated due to the difference of their charges in some certain pН of buffer solution. In different рН values proteins can have different charge: positive – and move towards the electrode with negative charge (cathode), or negative  –and move towards the electrode with positive charge (anode). If the total charge of protein is zero, it loses its mobility in the electric field, and accompanying рН value is called isoelectric point of protein (рI). Each protein has its own certain value рI. In electrophoresis in buffer solutions with changing рН value proteins moving under the influence of electric field get consistently into the areas with different рН value of medium and in the areas where рН = рI, lose their charge and stop moving focusing in the form of narrow strips, each one in the area of its рI. This is the isoelectric focusing.

Profesor Troitskiy G. V. was the first scholar in the world who together with his students suggested to create gradient pH with the help of variable concentration of polyatomic alcohol – polyol (for instance, glycerin) in buffer solutions on the basis of boric acid. This method is based on the idea that the more the concentration of polyol, the more the concentration of hydrogen protons in the medium and the higher the density and viscosity of solution. It made possible to generate stable pH gradients for isoelectric focusing. Troitskiy’s students Kiryukhin I. F., Zavyalov V. P., Abramov V. M., Azhitskiy G. Yu. also took part in the development of this method and the invention of necessary equipment. The studies devoted to this method were started in 1969, but the first publications appeared in 1973. The research results were summarized in the monograph of Troitskiy G. V. and Azhitskiy G. Yu. “Isoelectric Focusing of Proteins in Self-Organizing and Artificial pH-Gradients” in 1984.

To study the space structure of protein at the chair of biochemistry they used the method of optical rotary dispersion. For this purpose Troitskiy, Kiryukhin, Kobozev and Kosik constructed the first in Europe spectropolarimeter, device measuring optical activity of albumin solution in different wavelength of light.

Professor Troitskiy G. V. near the constructed by him spectropolarimeter first in Europe (50s).

This device was characterized by high accuracy, had optico-electronic rotation angle reference of polarized light. With the help of this device a number of experimental and clinical studies were carried out: lipoproteins in experimental atherosclerosis, immunoglobulins in pathologies, etc. The materials of studies were widely quoted in the national and foreign literature. The review of studies of the department staff is represented in the last Troitskiy’s monograph “Defective Proteins. Postsynthetic Modification” published in 1991.

Professors (from left to right) Troitskiy G. V., Protsenko V. A. and Zhaklin Oliv (France) are discussing with Professor Kobozev G. V. his hypothesis about the space structure of lipoproteins (1974).

In their form proteins are conditionally divided into two groups: fibrillar (threadlike) and globular (in their form they remind globule i.e. sphere). Immunoglobulin fold in proteins can have repeated, regular structure. Regular structures can be spiral or folded. Spirals and folds make different contribution in the optical activity of protein that helps to study them in spectropolarimetric way. Earlier one thought folded structures (the so called beta-sheet) to exist only in the fibrillar proteins. For the first time on the basis of findings obtained with the help of spectropolarimeter constructed by him and his students Troitskiy G. V. advanced an idea about the existence of beta-sheet in the globular proteins. First these findings were published in the magazine “Biophysics” in 1965. The experiments carried out in many laboratories of the world (including rentgeno-structural analysis) proved this theory. Nowadays the presence of beta-sheets in the globular proteins is generally accepted fact.

The final achievement of Troitskiy G. V. is the theory of immunity. The backbone of the theory includes the following: when some endogenous or foreign toxic substances get into the organism serum albumin takes the fall binding these harmful molecules yet before the immune system comes into play. In addition, albumin is modified that sends signals to the human organism to combat dangerous substances as soon as possible.

On 17 October, 1992 German Vasilyevich died. During his long life 12 of his students defended their post-doctoral and over 50 their Ph. D. theses.

The portrait of German Vasilyevich and stands with the information about him are there in the corridor at the department, his portrait is in each class room. Since 31 March, 2000 one can see the memorial plate dedicated to Troitskiy German Vasilyevich on the main building of the Crimea State Medical University.

The first Republican biomedical competition in the name of Troitskiy G. V. among the research works of pupils and students was organized in 2005 in the Crimean Junior Academy of Sciences and since then it takes place every year. During such competitions every new generation of the Junior Academy of Sciences get to know the biography and the main scientific achievements of this great scholar. In 2008 Professor Efetov K. A. published his article “Troitskiy G. V.” in the book devoted to the outstanding citizens of the Crimea «Крым в лицах и биографиях» (“The Crimea in Faces and Biographies”, Simferopol: Atlas-Kompakt, 410 p.)

Professor Troitskiy G. V. and his post-graduate Efetov K. A. (1983).

In 2009 Efetov K. A. published his book called “The Boss Told” dedicated to the memory of German Vasilyevich. In the same year Efetov K. A. together with Mozhayev P. N. created the page of Troitskiy G. V. in Wikipedia, in 2012 it was translated into Ukrainian.

And now the task of those who worked with the scholar is to preserve the atmosphere of art and scientific research that he created and pass it on to the next generation of our staff members and students who couldn’t meet this fantastic person.

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