Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Crystal quest brings success

29.09.2008
Study obtains protein structures more efficiently using a combination of techniques

The chances of obtaining crystals of sufficient quality and quantity to allow determination of three-dimensional protein structures using synchrotron radiation are significantly increased using a mix of robots geared to different crystallization techniques.

That is the conclusion of a screening study by researchers in Japan, led by Seiki Kuramistu of RIKEN’s SPring-8 Center in Harima, recently reported in Acta Crystallographica (1).

The work was part of the whole-cell project on the bacterium Thermus thermophilus HB8 (Fig. 1), which is found naturally in hot springs at temperatures of up to 85 °C. The aim of the project is to increase understanding of cells at a molecular level by determining the structures and functions of all proteins encoded by genes. Thermus was chosen as a model organism because it has a minimal set of genes which codes for about 2,000 proteins which are highly stable for analysis and more than 70% of which have human equivalents.

The standard means of determining protein structure, x-ray crystallography, involves aligning protein molecules into a lattice of repeating series of ‘unit cells’, and then passing x-rays through the resulting crystal. The structure of the protein is ‘solved’ by analyzing the resulting diffraction pattern.

But proteins are of irregular shape and the protein lattice is held together only by relatively weak electrostatic forces. So protein crystals are generally fragile and highly sensitive to environmental conditions. These must be adjusted to optimum levels for crystallization. At best it takes several hours to grow crystals suitable for data collection, but typically it takes months. Thus, protein crystallization has proved a major bottleneck in the whole-cell project.

In an attempt to increase efficiency, the researchers used 18 sample proteins from Thermus to test the capabilities of robots which use different techniques to crystallize proteins—sitting-drop vapor diffusion, hanging-drop vapor diffusion and a modified microbatch technique. They also trialed a microfluidic device designed to rapidly determine the best initial conditions, but which could not produce crystals in large enough quantities for diffraction.

The research team found that both vapor diffusion robots produced diffraction-quality crystals quicker than the microbatch robot—the sitting-drop being the faster. The microbatch robot, however, was most likely to be successful. The microfluidic device outperformed the other three on both counts. On the basis of these results the researchers used a combination of a sitting-drop and a microbatch robot to successfully determine structures for 360 of 944 purified proteins for the whole-cell project.

1. Iino, H., Naitow, H., Nakamura, Y., Nakagawa, N., Agari, Y., Kanagawa, M., Ebihara, A., Shinkai, A., Sugahara, M., Miyano, M., et al. Crystallization screening test for the whole-cell project on Thermus thermophilus HB8. Acta Crystallographica F64, 487–491 (2008).

Saeko Okada | ResearchSEA
Further information:
http://www.rikenresearch.riken.jp/research/538/
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Graphene gives a tremendous boost to future terahertz cameras
16.04.2019 | ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences

nachricht Mount Kilimanjaro: Ecosystems in Global Change
28.03.2019 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

Im Focus: Researchers 3D print metamaterials with novel optical properties

Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna

A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>