Advertisement

Celebrating the scientific legacy of Herbert Tabor

Open AccessPublished:February 01, 2019DOI:https://doi.org/10.1074/jbc.TME119.007427

      Introduction

      We are pleased to mark Herbert Tabor’s 100th birthday by publishing a collection of articles that showcase his impact on science and scientific publishing. The collection is JBC-centric, for good reason. Herb Tabor has been a JBC author over a span of 72 years. More impactful for JBC is the leadership Herb Tabor provided the journal over many decades from his stint on the Editorial Board (1961–1966), his service as an Associate Editor from 1966 to 1969, and then his role as Editor-in-Chief from 1970 to 2010. Truly impressively, he continues in the role of Co-Editor and assigns new manuscripts every week, along with the two of us.
      How can one adequately convey the influence Herb Tabor has had on JBC and science more broadly? JBC has undergone huge changes since 1971, when there were only four Associate Editors (today we have 30, plus >800 Editorial Board members). In the early days, Tabor did all of his JBC work outside of “business hours,” keeping the editorial work separate from his own job at the NIH. This demarcation of labor even involved using a pay phone to make calls (during his lunch breaks) and dealing with sacks of JBC mail left on the porch at his house. Over the period of Herb Tabor’s editorial leadership of JBC, the journal grew from a monthly publication with 4800 pages per year to a weekly publication with over 37,000 pages published annually. During his time as JBC Editor-in-Chief, Herb Tabor exercised insightful and visionary scientific judgment, and the seminal work appearing in the pages of JBC while Tabor was at the helm stands as evidence of this. As cogently articulated in an autobiographical article by Herb and Celia Tabor (
      • Tabor C.W.
      • Tabor H.
      It all started on a streetcar in Boston.
      ), the philosophy of the JBC is to publish papers in any area of biological chemistry without regard to trendiness and to ensure that all submissions be reviewed fairly and thoroughly. Those who have followed in Herb Tabor’s footsteps in editorial leadership of JBC maintain this vision of the journal: We want the JBC to publish “exciting” papers but not at the expense of solid contributions that prove to be important to the development of science in the long term (
      • Tabor C.W.
      • Tabor H.
      It all started on a streetcar in Boston.
      ). JBC’s stature has been built on the foundation provided by Herb Tabor’s leadership, which spanned over a third of JBC’s more than 100-year history, a remarkable legacy.
      In this collection, we sought to illustrate Herb Tabor's scientific impact by inviting contributions from colleagues who authored papers in JBC while Herb Tabor was Editor-in-Chief and who recognize that these early papers launched fields that remain vibrant and timely today. All who contributed have noted how important Herb Tabor's editorial guidance of JBC was to their scientific discipline. Strikingly, this collection has become a testament to the amazing evolution of biological chemistry and the role JBC and Herb Tabor played in launching the trajectories of many of the most exciting current areas of molecular bioscience! For example, Carolyn Worby and Jack Dixon have highlighted how several JBC papers led to Dixon's seminal 1991 paper on the mechanism of tyrosine phosphatase PTP1B and how key the JBC papers appearing under Herb Tabor's editorship were to the whole field of reversible phosphorylation (
      • Worby C.A.
      • Dixon J.E.
      Reversible phosphorylation: a birthday tribute to Herb Tabor.
      ). Similarly, Judy Bond discusses the explosion of work appearing in JBC during Herb Tabor's editorship in the field of proteases and how prophetic the JBC leadership was in recognizing this burgeoning area of biological chemistry (
      • Bond J.S.
      Proteases: history, discovery, and roles in health and disease.
      ). Joel Gottesfeld has attempted the heroic task of showing the upsurge of work during this time in the field of transcription and the transcriptional machinery, with linkages to key papers in JBC published under Herb Tabor's leadership (
      • Gottesfeld J.M.
      Milestones in transcription and chromatin published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
      ). The list continues: Heidi Hamm describes the impact of JBC and Herb Tabor on G-protein signaling (
      • Zurawski Z.
      • Yim Y.Y.
      • Alford S.
      • Hamm H.E.
      The expanding roles and mechanisms of G protein–mediated presynaptic inhibition.
      ). One of us (Guengerich) discusses the evolution of work on cytochrome P450 and publications in JBC (
      • Guengerich F.P.
      Cytochrome P450 research and The Journal of Biological Chemistry.
      ), George Carman relates discoveries of the phosphatidate phosphatase genes published in JBC and their impact (
      • Carman G.M.
      Discoveries of the phosphatidate phosphatase genes in yeast published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
      ), Vince Hascall recounts the path of hyaluronan research and the JBC (
      • Hascall V.C.
      The journey of hyaluronan research in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
      ), Bill Smith points to the development of anti-inflammatory drugs based on foundational work in JBC on cyclooxygenases (
      • Smith W.L.
      • Malkowski M.G.
      Interactions of fatty acids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and coxibs with the catalytic and allosteric subunits of cyclooxygenases-1 and -2.
      ), Suzanne Pfeffer describes new findings in the cellular trafficking of cholesterol that have been stimulated by key work reported in JBC (
      • Pfeffer S.R.
      NPC intracellular cholesterol transporter 1 (NPC1)-mediated cholesterol export from lysosomes.
      ), and Chuck Samuel describes the JBC origins of current research on RNA deaminases and pathologies associated with dysregulation of adenosine to inosine modification (
      • Samuel C.E.
      Adenosine deaminase acting on RNA (ADAR1), a suppressor of double-stranded RNA–triggered innate immune responses.
      ). Altogether, this is a truly impressive collection of highly impactful science first shepherded by Herb Tabor and developing into major themes of current biological chemistry!
      Herb Tabor and his team of associate editors also led the field of electronic publishing in the fields of biology and chemistry. In 1995, JBC introduced full-text on-line publication (following CD-ROMs in 1992), and, since 2011, it has been an electronic-only journal, becoming even more available throughout the world and also greatly facilitating the use of color in figures. There is no better person to present the transition of JBC to fully digital publishing, as spearheaded by Herb Tabor, than John Sack of HighWire Press who was deeply involved. John Sack's paper in this collection (
      • Sack J.
      How Herb Tabor's vision for timely and accessible research led scientific publishing into the online age.
      ) relates a remarkable history showing how the JBC's adoption of on-line publishing and digital rendition of articles changed the world of publishing forever, and how much Herb Tabor's quiet and visionary leadership motivated these decisions.
      Biographical information about Herb Tabor has been offered in several reviews and other pieces over the last few years, including the fascinating autobiography in Annual Reviews in Biochemistry in 1999 (
      • Tabor C.W.
      • Tabor H.
      It all started on a streetcar in Boston.
      ) and informative articles in ASBMB Today published in honor of Herb Tabor's birthday and recent Tabor awards (
      • Mushegian S.
      Celebrating Herb Tabor's 100 years.
      ,
      • Oldach L.
      Who is Herbert Tabor?.
      ). But, we want to draw your attention to the long association he has had with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where his lab continues to reside (Fig. 1). He joined the NIH in 1942, working with Sanford Rosenthal on electrolyte changes resulting from traumatic shock and never left. Thus, he has been working at NIH intramural laboratories for over 75 years! Most of this time, Herb Tabor carried out his research in partnership with his wife, Celia White Tabor, until her death in 2012. As Chief of the Pharmacology Section of the Laboratory of Biochemistry and Genetics at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Tabor welcomed many investigators to his lab or to the institute (see Ref.
      • Tabor C.W.
      • Tabor H.
      It all started on a streetcar in Boston.
      ). In this collection, we highlight Herb Tabor's career-long relationship with the NIH and consequent impact on many trainees and colleagues by including an article by Reed Wickner (
      • Wickner R.B.
      Anti-prion systems in yeast.
      ), who has had a 50-year-long association with Herb Tabor, starting when he joined the Tabor lab as a postdoc in 1967. Wickner presents the exciting research he has spearheaded in prion biochemistry; he and his associates have utilized the genetically manipulable yeast model system to learn many fundamental behaviors of amyloidogenic proteins. Wickner's contribution to this collection is a wonderful reflection of the impact of Herb Tabor as a mentor.
      Figure thumbnail gr1
      Figure 1Snapshots from the life of Herb Tabor. A, Herb working in a laboratory as an intern at the Yale-New Haven Hospital, May 1942; B, Herb and Sanford Rosenthal sitting in front of an oxygen metabolism apparatus in their laboratory at NIH, ∼1944; C, Herb and Celia at their laboratory bench in Building 4 of NIH, ∼1953; D, Herb and Celia on the side of their house on the NIH campus during a spring lunch break, 1967; E, Herb working at his laboratory bench in Building 4 of NIH, 1974; F, Herb working at his laboratory bench in Building 4 of NIH, date unknown.
      Finally, we draw your attention to Tabor’s own work: Herb and Celia Tabor began studying polyamines in 1952. Sixty years later, the Tabor lab continues to carry out research on these simple molecules, which are abundant in nature and have a wide variety of biological properties, many of which are still not well understood. The long-term focus in the Tabor laboratory has been in the areas of establishing biosynthetic steps in polyamine metabolism, defining the genes involved in the biosynthesis of spermidine and spermine, and, more recently, defining the physiological functions of polyamines (
      • Tabor C.W.
      • Tabor H.
      It all started on a streetcar in Boston.
      ,
      • Tabor C.W.
      • Tabor H.
      The speEspeD operon of Escherichia coli. Formation and processing of a proenzyme form of S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase.
      ,
      • Tabor H.
      • Rosenthal S.M.
      • Tabor C.W.
      The biosynthesis of spermidine and spermine from putrescine and methionine.
      • Chattopadhyay M.K.
      • Keembiyehetty C.N.
      • Chen W.
      • Tabor H.
      Polyamines stimulate the level of the sigma38 subunit (RpoS) of Escherichia coli RNA polymerase, resulting in the induction of the glutamate decarboxylase-dependent acid response system via the gadE regulon.
      ). We invite the interested reader to a recent Thematic Series covering the subject (
      • Pegg A.E.
      Introduction to the thematic minireview series: Sixty plus years of polyamine research.
      ), gathered by Tony Pegg as part of our celebration of the scientific contributions of Herb Tabor.
      We hope that you enjoy reading this collection for all the reasons we have described, but mostly because it stands as a testament to the immense impact a gentle, modest, open-minded scientist with a taste for fundamental molecular mechanisms of biology and a nose for exceptional science could have. Hats off to you, Herb Tabor, and congratulations again (
      • Gierasch L.M.
      • Guengerich F.P.
      Happy centennial birthday to Herb Tabor, pillar of JBC.
      ) on the centennial milestone!

      References

        • Tabor C.W.
        • Tabor H.
        It all started on a streetcar in Boston.
        Annu. Rev. Biochem. 1999; 68 (10872442): 1-32
        • Worby C.A.
        • Dixon J.E.
        Reversible phosphorylation: a birthday tribute to Herb Tabor.
        J. Biol. Chem. 2019; 294: 1638-1642
        • Bond J.S.
        Proteases: history, discovery, and roles in health and disease.
        J. Biol. Chem. 2019; 294: 1643-1651
        • Gottesfeld J.M.
        Milestones in transcription and chromatin published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
        J. Biol. Chem. 2019; 294: 1652-1660
        • Zurawski Z.
        • Yim Y.Y.
        • Alford S.
        • Hamm H.E.
        The expanding roles and mechanisms of G protein–mediated presynaptic inhibition.
        J. Biol. Chem. 2019; 294: 1661-1670
        • Guengerich F.P.
        Cytochrome P450 research and The Journal of Biological Chemistry.
        J. Biol. Chem. 2019; 294: 1671-1680
        • Carman G.M.
        Discoveries of the phosphatidate phosphatase genes in yeast published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
        J. Biol. Chem. 2019; 294: 1681-1689
        • Hascall V.C.
        The journey of hyaluronan research in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
        J. Biol. Chem. 2019; 294: 1690-1696
        • Smith W.L.
        • Malkowski M.G.
        Interactions of fatty acids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and coxibs with the catalytic and allosteric subunits of cyclooxygenases-1 and -2.
        J. Biol. Chem. 2019; 294: 1697-1705
        • Pfeffer S.R.
        NPC intracellular cholesterol transporter 1 (NPC1)-mediated cholesterol export from lysosomes.
        J. Biol. Chem. 2019; 294: 1706-1709
        • Samuel C.E.
        Adenosine deaminase acting on RNA (ADAR1), a suppressor of double-stranded RNA–triggered innate immune responses.
        J. Biol. Chem. 2019; 294: 1710-1720
        • Sack J.
        How Herb Tabor's vision for timely and accessible research led scientific publishing into the online age.
        J. Biol. Chem. 2019; 294: 1721-1728
        • Mushegian S.
        Celebrating Herb Tabor's 100 years.
        ASBMB Today. 2018; (http://www.asbmb.org/asbmbtoday/201811/News/Tabor100)
        • Oldach L.
        Who is Herbert Tabor?.
        ASBMB Today. 2018; (http://www.asbmb.org/asbmbtoday/201803/AnnualMeeting/Tabor/)
        • Wickner R.B.
        Anti-prion systems in yeast.
        J. Biol. Chem. 2019; 294: 1729-1738
        • Tabor C.W.
        • Tabor H.
        The speEspeD operon of Escherichia coli. Formation and processing of a proenzyme form of S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase.
        J. Biol. Chem. 1987; 262 (3316212): 16037-16040
        • Tabor H.
        • Rosenthal S.M.
        • Tabor C.W.
        The biosynthesis of spermidine and spermine from putrescine and methionine.
        J. Biol. Chem. 1958; 233 (13587513): 907-914
        • Chattopadhyay M.K.
        • Keembiyehetty C.N.
        • Chen W.
        • Tabor H.
        Polyamines stimulate the level of the sigma38 subunit (RpoS) of Escherichia coli RNA polymerase, resulting in the induction of the glutamate decarboxylase-dependent acid response system via the gadE regulon.
        J. Biol. Chem. 2015; 290 (26025365): 17809-17821
        • Pegg A.E.
        Introduction to the thematic minireview series: Sixty plus years of polyamine research.
        J. Biol. Chem. 2018; 293 (30377254): 18681-18692
        • Gierasch L.M.
        • Guengerich F.P.
        Happy centennial birthday to Herb Tabor, pillar of JBC.
        J. Biol. Chem. 2018; 293 (30504284): 18803