This remembrance of Ryo Sato was sent to me by Ron Estabrook on May 21, 1996.

      The scientific community, in particular those studying the properties and 
functions of the cytochromes P450, recently lost a great friend, teacher, and 
leader. On January 16, 1996 Professor Ryo Sato died of cancer in Osaka, Japan 
at the age of 72.  In 1962, Ryo Sato with Tsuneo Omura identified P450 as a 
hemoprotein and described many of its biochemical properties. This seminal 
study ranks tenth in the Citation Index of papers published. Ryo Sato served 
as an Editor of Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics from 1970-80 and 
served to foster this journal as the one of choice for publication by authors 
of many studies characterizing the cytochromes P450. 

      Ryo Sato was trained in organic chemistry and biochemistry at the 
University of Tokyo. He moved to Nagoya to do post-doctoral research with 
Professor Egami where he discovered the role of cytochrome b1 in anaerobic 
nitrate respiration of E. coli. It was these studies that set his interest in 
cytochromes. Following an appointment as Assistant Professor at Kanazawa 
University (1951-57) he moved to the Institute for Protein Research, 
University of Osaka, where he advanced to the position of Director (1985-87). 
Since his retirement he has been associated with the Japan Ciba-Geigy 
Foundation.

      In 1953 Ryo Sato went to Stockholm, Sweden to work with Professor Hugo 
Theorell on the characterization of cytochrome b1. On his return to Japan in 
1955 he spent seven months at the Johnson Research Foundation, University of 
Pennsylvania. It was during this visit that we worked together examining the 
properties of a unique cytochrome (b4) that Ryo had purified from a 
halotolerant bacterium originally isolated from the skin of a whale. A bond of 
friendship developed that weathered both collaborative and competitive 
research activities for over forty-one years.

      Sato was aware of the historic finding made at the Johnson Foundation at 
that time and reported by Martin Klingenberg (Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 75, 
376-86, 1958) of a spectrophotometric curiosity present in rat liver 
microsomes that bound carbon monoxide to give an absorbance band at 450 nm.  
As Ryo says, "This was a surprise to me since I had not known that liver 
microsomes contain a cytochrome. When I knew this fact, I immediately 
determined to work on this system upon my return to Japan and look for a novel 
energy-yielding reaction that should be associated with it." Rather than 
discovering a new pathway for ATP synthesis in microsomes, Ryo Sato, together 
with Tsuneo Omura, set the stage for the subsequent explosion of information 
on the function and properties of cytochrome P450.

      The intervening years have seen the number of P450s expand to over 500 
now cloned and sequenced. The many roles of P450s in biology and medicine now 
include the important topics of drug metabolism, fatty acid omega oxidation, 
activation of chemicals initiating carcinogenesis, and vitamin D hydroxylation 
reactions as well as the enzymatic reactions associated with the pigments of 
flowers, the flavorants of spices, and the resistance to pesticides by 
insects, to name but a few examples. We owe much of our knowledge of the P450s 
involved in these reactions to Ryo Sato. 

      Sato was a quiet and modest man whose incisive experiments frequently led 
the way through the maze of unknowns associated with studies of P450s. He had 
an encyclopedic knowledge of work done and a generosity in sharing this 
knowledge with others. His gentle, but sometimes critical way, of guiding 
students and colleagues, has made him a role model as both scientist and 
mentor. In 1985 Sato received the Imperial Award of the Japan Academy from 
Emperor Hirohito for his contributions to science.

      I write this on behalf of the many friends and collegues of Ryo Sato. 
Each of us has our fond memories of Ryo. Whether it was the late evenings of 
discussion, sharing an exciting new finding, or comparing our stamp 
collections and the wonders of our grandchildren, each of us will remember 
this great man in our own special way. He will be greatly missed by his 
friends and colleagues.



		Ronald W. Estabrook
		Dallas, Texas  
		March 25, 1996