Mikhail M. Shemyakin

Personal information

Academician M.M. Shemyakin is an eminent soviet scientist of organic chemistry and chemistry of natural compounds, which with his active taking part in during 10—15 years became a separate branch of knowledge as bioorganic chemistry. Works of M.M. Shemyakin were appreciated highly by scientific community. He is an author of more than 300 articles in different soviet and foreign scientific journals, the main editor of monograph «Chemistry of“antibiotics”. M.M. Shemyakin let the most talented scientists educated, some of them are: Academician Yu.A. Ovchinnikov, M.N. Kolosov, A.S. Khokhlov, V.T. Ivanov, corresponding member of AS USSR and RAS L.D. Bergelson, V.K. Antonov, professors and doctors of science Yu.A. Berlin, V.A. Vaver, N.S. Wulfson, A.I. Gurevich, E.V. Dyatlovitskaya and more than 50 PhDs.

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1929—1935: scientist, research Institute of Organic Intermediates and Dyes (Moscow);

1930—1937: assistant, since 1935 — associate professor, Moscow institute of fine chemical technology named after M. V. Lomonosov (MIFCT);

1935—1945: senior research associate, since 1939 — head of Organic chemistry laboratory (later called Laboratory of vitamin chemistry) in All-union institute of experimental medicine (AUIEM) of Ministry of Public Health USSR (Moscow);

1937—1957: associate professor, since 1942 — professor, head of departments of analytical chemistry, organic chemistry and inorganic chemistry in Moscow textile university;

1945—1959: head of laboratory in Research institute of biological and medical chemistry of AMS USSR (Moscow);

1957—1959: head of Laboratory of antibiotics chemistry in N.D. Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry;

1959—1970: director and chairman of Academic council of The Institute of natural compounds’ chemistry (INCC) of AS USSR;

1963—1970:Academician secretary of Department of biochemistry, biophysics and physiologically active compounds chemistry of AS USSR;

1963—1970:Presidium member of AS USSR;

1970: president of VII International symposium IUPAC on chemistry of natural compounds (Riga).

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Public and political activities

1950—1957: member of Frunzinsky district soviet of people’s deputies in Moscow;

1951—1970:member of Communist Party USSR.


PeriodCountry, cityEducation institutionAdditional info
1925–1930 Moscow, Russia M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University (chemical faculty) MS in chemistry
1938 Moscow, Russia M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University (chemical faculty) Ph.D. in chemistry (without defence of a thesis)
1941 Moscow, Russia M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University (chemical faculty) D.Sc. in chemistry
1942 Moscow, Russia M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University (chemical faculty) Professor degree is awarded

Awards & honors

  • Medal “For valorous work during the Great patriotic war, 1941–1945” (1946);
  • Medal “In memory of the 800 anniversary of Moscow” (1948);
  • Lenin Order for achievements in development of Soviet science and application of scientific achievements in the national economy (1967);
  • The title of Hero of Socialist Labor with delivery of the Lenin Order and the gold medal “Hammer and sickle” for his outstanding achievements in development of biological science and scientific training (1969);
  • Jubilee Medal “For Valiant Labor. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin birth” (1970).

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Main scientific results

Main works are devoted to bioorganic chemistry, because he was one of its founders. Researched (1938—1941) causes and mechanisms of hydrolytic degradation of carbon–carbon bonds in organic compounds and devised (1941—1943) general theory of oxidative-hydrolytic transformation of organic compounds, which he was developing (till 1961) in his experimental researches. With academician A.E. Brownshtein created (1952) general theory of amino-acid exchange reactions, catalyzed by pyridoxalphosphate enzymes. Translated (1944—1970) researches on chemistry of antibiotics. Synthesized (1949) oxazolon compounds. With A.S. Khokhlov and others researched (1949—1968) structure, properties and different methods of synthesis of chloramphenicol (chloromycetin, laevomycetin) and its analogs. Offered (1953) method of synthesis and technology of industrial obtaining of chloramphenicol, created useable methods of obtaining of its optically active analogs. Ascertained causes of chloramphenicol antimicrobial action. With colleagues synthesized (1957—1959) analogs of sarcomycin. Researched structure and configuration of a large group of related antitumor antibiotics like aurelic acid (olivomycins, chromomycins, mitomycins etc.). In collaboration with Academician M.N. Kolosov and others started (1957) systemized research of tetracyclines, did full synthesis of tetracycline (1966). With L.D. Bergelson found (1961) ways of directed stereoregulation of Wittig reaction. Performed stereospecific syntheses of many important unsaturated fatty acids — main structural unit of many lipids. Using oxidative cyclization of series of di- tri- and tetraacetylene esters he obtained (1960—1962, with L.D. Bergelson) a huge amount of respective ketones. The most important achievements were made by M.M. Shemyakin in research (1953—1970) of protein and peptide substances. With Academician Yu.A. Ovchinnikov and others he founded chemistry of depsipeptides. Offered the term “depsipeptide” (1953). Developed (1959—1965) general method of depsipeptides’ synthesis. Ascertained and corroborated by synthesis structure of enniatin (1962—1964), sporidesmolids (1962—1966), valinomycin (1966) and some of other natural depsipeptides. With Yu.A. Ovchinnikov and colleagues created method and developed (1964—1970) mass-spectrometry researches amino acid sequence in peptides and proteins, did synthesis of peptides on polymer carrier. With Yu.A. Ovchinnikov and V.T. Ivanov ascertained (1969) that depsipeptides are a good chemical tool for research of ion transfer across membranes. Ascertained mechanism of selective binding of alkali metals’ ions by depsipeptide and peptide systems and founded basics of membrane specificity theory. Offered (1957) an isotopic method of research of organic compounds’ dual reactivity and tautomerism, which was widely used by him for research of tautomerism of aldehyde acids, 1,4-naphthoquinones, arylazonaphthols and azocycloles. During last years of life Shemyakin was delivering lectures in pharmaceutical department of I.M. Sechenov First Moscow Medical Institute (nowadays — The I.M. Sechenov Moscow Medical Academy).

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Scientific societies’ membership

1946—1965: Member of the State Commission for Academic Degrees and Titles, from 1952 to 1960 – deputy chairman, chairman of the Expert committee on chemistry under the State Commission;

1958—1970: member of the European committee on chemistry of peptides;

1959—1963, 1967—1970:member of organic chemistry section, International union of pure and applied chemistry (IUPAC);

1959—1967: member of chemistry and chemical technology section of the Lenin prizes committee on science and technology under the Council of ministers USSR;

1960—1963: soviet representative in the Advisory Committee on natural sciences UNESCO;

1962—1963: deputy chairman of the Committee of AS USSR on the problems of agriculture;

1962—1964: member of the Bureau of Scientific council of AS USSR on the issue of “Molecular Biology”;

1963—1967: chairman of the Advisory committee on natural sciences in the Commission USSR for UNESCO;

1963—1969: Member of the Commission on international scientific relations of the Presidium of AS USSR;

1965—1970: member of the Advisory board of the fund “CIBA”;

1967—1970: member of the Committee on Lenin and USSR State Prizes in science and technology under the Council of Ministers USSR.

Titles of honour

1953: corresponding member of AS USSR;

1957:full member of the Chemical society of France;

1958:full member of AS USSR;

1966:honorary member of the Czechoslovak chemical society;

1968: foreign member of the German academy of natural scientists “Leopoldina” in Galla.

Member of the editorial board of scientific journals

1947—1970: member of the editorial board of Goskhimizdat;

1956—1964: editor of chemistry section in “Bolshaya medicinskaya entsiclopedia”;

1956—1970: editor of journal “Reaktsiyi i metody issledovaniya organicheskih soedineniy”;

1956—1970: member of the editorial board “Antibiotiki”;

1963—1970: member of the editorial board “Journal of general chemistry”, which belonged to AS USSR;

1969—1970: member of the editorial board of international journal “Synthesis”;

1969—1970: member of the editorial board of international journal “The Journal of membrane biology”.

In memory of M.M. Shemyakin

In 1970 the Institute of natural compounds’ chemistry (INCC) of AS USSR (nowadays – IBCh RAS) was named after its founder and first director, Academician Mikhail Shemyakin. Today there is his memorial plaque in front of central entrance in IBCh RAS.

In 1982 Presidium of AS USSR founded award named after M.M. Shemyakin for outstanding work in the field of peptides and proteins (since 1995 г. — in the field of bioorganic chemistry).

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Selected publications

  1. Ivanov V.T., Shemyakin M.M., Ovchinnikov Yu.A. (1969). Topochemische Untersuchungen an Peptidsystemen. Angew. Chemie 14, 523–529 ID:168
  2. Ovchinnikov Yu.A., Shemyakin M.M., Ivanov V.T., Antonov V.K., Vinogradova E.I., Shkrob A.M., Malenkov G.G., Evstratov A.V., Laine I.A., Melnik E.I., Ryabova I.D. (1969). Cyclodepsipeptides as chemical tool for studying ionic transport through membranes. J. Membr. Biol. 1, 402–403 [+]

    This paper reports a study of the chemistry of valinomycin, enniatins and related membrane-active depsipeptides that increase alkali metal ion permeability of model and biological membranes. The antimicrobial activity of these compounds and thir effect on membranes has been correlated with their cation-complexing ability. the complexing reaction has been studied by spectropolarimetric studies have revealed coexistence of conformers of the cyclopeptides and conductometric methods.  Nuclear magnetic resonance, optical rotatory dispersion, and infrared spectrophotometric studies have revealed the coexistence ofconformers of the cyclodepsipeptides in solution and have led to elucidation of the spatial structure of valinomycin, enniatin B and their K+ complexes. The effect of the conformational properties of the cyclodepsipeptides on their complexation efficiency and selectivity, surface-active properties and behavior towards phospholipid monolayers, bimolecular phospholipid membranes and a number of biological membrane systems has been ascertained. The studies have clearly shown the feasibility of using cyclodepsipeptides with predetermined structural and conformational parameters as chemical tools for membrane studies. It is suggested that the principle of conformation-dependent cation binding through ion-dipole interactions may possibly lie at the basis of the mode of action of systems governing the natural ion permeability in biological membranes.

  3. Berlin Yu.A., Kiseleva O.A., Kolosov M.N., Shemyakin M.M., Soifer V.S. (1968). Aureolic acid group of anti-tumour antibiotics. Nature 218 (513), 193–194 [+]

    Separation, structural, physical and chemical charasteristics (inckuding carbohydrate composition) many antitumor antibiotics were established. It has helped to indetify many antibiotics and classified them into three structural types - chromomycines, olivomycines and antibiotics of aureolic acid group.

  4. Gurevich A.I., Karapetyan M.G., Kolosov M.N., Korobko V.G., Onoprienko V.V., Popravko S.A., Shemyakin M.M. (1967). Synthesis of 12a-deoxy-5a,6-anhydrotetracycline. The first total synthesis of the naturally occurring tetracycline. Tetrahedron Lett. 2, 131–4 ID:249
  5. Shemyakin M.M., Ovchinnikov Yu.A., Kiryushkin A.A., Vinogradova E.I., Miroshnikov A.I., Alakhov Yu.B., Lipkin V.M., Shvetsov Yu.B., Wulfson N.S., Rosinov B.V., Bochkarev V.N., Burikov V.M. (1966). Mass spectrometric determination of the amino-acid sequence of peptides. Nature 211 (5047), 361–6 [+]

    New method of determination polypeptide amino acids sequenses with mass-spectoscopy of acyl ethers. This method base on peptide fragmentation with localizing positive charge on N-acyl fragments.

  6. Berlin Y.A., Esipov S.E., Kolosov M.N., Shemyakin M.M. (1966). The structure of the olivomycin-chromomycin antibiotics. Tetrahedron Lett. 15, 1643–7 ID:248
  7. Ovchinnikov Yu.A., Shemyakin M.M., Kiryushkin A.A., Kozhevnikova I.V. (1965). Synthesis of peptides in solution on polymeric support: 1. Synthesis of glycylglycyl-L-leucylglycine. Tetrahedron Lett. 27, 2323–2327 ID:138
  8. Shemyakin M.M. (1965). Chemistry of depsipeptide antibiotics. Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy 5, 962–76 ID:173
  9. Шемякин М.М., Бергельсон Л.Д., Барсуков Л.И., Вавер В.А. (1963). Стереохимия и механизм реакции Виттига. Известия АН СССР. ОХН. 6, 1053–1063 ID:170
  10. Овчинников Ю.А., Арбузов Ю.А., Берлин Ю.А., Волков Ю.П., Колосов М.Н., Се Ю., Тао Ч., Шемякин М.М. (1961). Исследование путей синтеза тетрациклинов. Антибиотики 7, 585–594 ID:136
  11. Браунштейн А.Е., Шемякин М.М. (1953). Теория процессов аминокислотного обмена, катализируемых пиридоксалевыми энзимами. Биохимия 18 (4), 393–411 ID:175
  12. Shemyakin M.M., Shchukina L.A., Shvetsov Yu.B. (1943). Mechanism of Biological Action of Vitamin K and Its Synthetic Analogs. Nature 151 (383), 585–586 [+]

    In this paper were shown that vitamins K1 and K2 and their synthetic analogs are pro-vitamins, which can produce phtalic acid compounds.

  13. Шемякин М.М., Редькин И.А. (1941). Гидролитическое расщепление углеродных связей. I. Выяснение причин и механизма этого явления. ЖОХ 11 (13), 1142–1156 ID:177
  14. Шемякин М.М., Королёв А.И. (1931). Химия красящих и родственным им веществ растений. Анилинокрасочная промышленность 9-10, 18–35 [+]

    В этой работе дан опыт систематического изложения большого экспериментального материала, где отдельные красители рассматриваются не как изолированные системы, а как системы, находящиеся в глубокой внутренней связи между собой, представляющие динамические фазы того же вещества, причём взаимоотношения категорий количества и качества проявляются в данном освещении со всей ясностью.