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LabCrystal – news from the world of protein crystallography


16 June, 2014

labCrystal – news from the world of protein crystallography

In our most recent labCrystal journal, we take a look at some of the new research coming out of X-ray crystallography labs around the world, from protein folds named after chocolate bars to crystals in oil.

Producing the perfect diffracting crystals frequently requires multiple experiments, tweaking one variable at a time, in order to optimise the crystallisation conditions. Following an initial crystallisation hit, the conditions are usually refined further by setting up a new plate and varying the concentrations of the components along the x- and y-axes in the reservoir. Devising unique approaches to this can often lead to uniquely successful results.

In one example from UCLA, Michael Collazo and colleagues optimised proteinase K crystals in a hanging drop format using an unconventional method whereby the components are equilibrating back towards the original hit condition termed the ‘alternative’ reservoir.

A second example demonstrated the first X-ray structure of cyanuric acid hydrolase (AtzD), an enzyme involved in the detoxification of the pesticide atrazine at Australia’s Collaborative Crystallisation Centre (C3). Time was reduced for the seeding experiments by using a mosquito® LCP – the research revealed an interesting ring-opening chemistry and a novel fold in the protein structure, termed the ‘Toblerone fold’, that up until now had not been observed.

Lastly Fabrice Gorrec from MRC LMB, UK demonstrates the use of our new dragonfly that can dispense any liquid in any volume, into any well for setting up crystals of lysozme, cncanavalin and catalase.

The labCrystal also describes how advances in automation have facilitated the widespread adoption of high throughput microbatch, under oil methods.

Finding the right optimisation process or technique can be a challenging and complex task. However, with the aid of great technological insight and advances, like TTP Labtech’s liquid handling range, discovering the next novel protein structure is that much easier.

To read these stories in full, download labCrystal.