Submitted to: American Society of Plant Physiologists Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 1, 2000
Publication Date: October 1, 2000
Akira Watanabe died of cerebral infarction on May 22 in Tokyo at the young age of 57 years. Akira engendered warmth and affection whenever one met him. He enjoyed entertaining his overseas visitors and friends in his home - being a friend of Akira meant to be a friend of his family! He was a very proud Japanese but was enamored by other cultures as well. Akira was Professor of Environmental Plant Physiology at the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Tokyo since 1992. Prior to that, Akira spent more than two decades at Nagoya University with a two years 'sabbatical' (1977-78) sojourn in the laboratory of Carl Price at Rutgers. He returned to USA several times after that. Early in his career Akira devoted most of his time to hormonal regulation of macromolecular synthesis and in later years his focus was on senescence-associated molecular regulation of plastid metabolism. In 1971 he showed that sulfhydryl groups regulate protein synthesis in prokaryotes, a finding that was a prelude to the now emerging concept of redox regulation of protein synthesis in plastids. He went on to discover that cutting plant tissues invokes macromolecular synthesis. Akira will be very much missed by his family and friends world-over.