An observable protein crystal growth apparatus for studying the effects of microgravity on protein crystallization

McPherson, Alexander; Malkin, Alexander J.; Kuznetsov, Yurii G.; Koszelak, Stan; Wells, Mark; Jenkins, Greg; Howard, Jeff; Lawson, Greg
January 2000
AIP Conference Proceedings;2000, Vol. 504 Issue 1, p470
Academic Journal
Macromolecular crystals during their growth, incorporate an extensive array of impurities which vary from individual molecules to large particles, and even microcrystals in the micron size range. AFM (atomic force microscopy) along with X-ray topology has shown that the density of defects and faults in most macromolecular crystals is several orders of magnitude higher than in conventional crystals. High defect and impurity density contributes, in turn, to a deterioration of both the mechanical and diffraction properties of crystals, thereby lessening their value for structural biology. In microgravity, access by impurities and aggregates to growing crystal surfaces is restricted due to the elimination of convention and to altered fluid transport properties. We designed, and have now completed construction of an instrument, the OPCGA (Observable Protein Crystal Growth Apparatus) that employs a fused optics, phase shift, Mach-Zehnder interferometer, along with polarized light, time lapse video microscopy to analyze the fluid environment around growing crystals. Using this device, which will ultimately be deployed on the International Space Station, we have, in thin cells on Earth, succeeded in directly visualizing macromolecule concentration gradients around growing protein crystals. This provides the first direct evidence that quasi-stable depletion zones formed around growing crystals in space may explain the improved quality of macromolecular crystals grown in microgravity. Further application of the interferometric technique will allow us to quantitatively describe the shapes, extent, and magnitudes of the concentration gradients and to evaluate their degree of stability. The OPCGA ultimately will be used by the broad crystal growth community to study, and quantitatively describe the development of a vast range of macromolecular crystals. This will have a significant impact on our understanding of crystal growth phenomena and our ability to improve and c...


Related Articles

  • Growth and mutual interference of protein seeds under reduced gravity conditions. Lappa, M. // Physics of Fluids;Apr2003, Vol. 15 Issue 4, p1046 

    This analysis deals with new models and computational methods as well as with novel results on the relative importance of "controlling forces" in macromolecular crystal growth. The attention is focused in particular on microgravity fluid-dynamic aspects and on the case of the simultaneous growth...

  • Debate: The key to stone formation is ... Rao, P.N. // Urological Research;Apr2006, Vol. 34 Issue 2, p79 

    The article analyzes the contrasting views of three experts on urinary stone formation. Doctor Kavanagh argues that supersaturation enables crystals to form, grow and aggregate. Professor Khan focuses on the role of renal tubular damage and cellular dysfunction. Professor Ryall argues that...

  • CELL BIOLOGY - IMMUNOLOGY - PATHOLOGY Citrate inhibits growth of residual fragments in an in vitro model of calcium oxalate renal stones. Chow, Karyee; Dixon, James; Gilpin, Sally; Kavanagh, John P.; Rao, Popduri N. // Kidney International;May2004, Vol. 65 Issue 5, p1724 

    Citrate inhibits growth of residual fragments in an in vitro model of calcium oxalate renal stones. Background. Alkaline citrate is thought to be helpful in reducing recurrences of calcium oxalate stones. The evidence for this is incomplete, there have been few good trials, all with their own...

  • Natural urinary macromolecular inhibitors: Attenuation of inhibitory activity by urate salts. Zerwekh, Joseph E.; Holt, Karen; Pak, Charles Y. C. // Kidney International;Jun1983, Vol. 23 Issue 6, p838 

    The interaction between naturally occurring urinary macromolecular inhibitors of calcium oxalate nucleation and crystal growth and the various urate salts was explored in vitro. The fraction of macromolecules chosen for the study was the one which was previously shown to have a potent inhibitor...

  • Failure by simultaneous grain growth, strain localization, and interface debonding in metal films on polymer substrates. Nanshu Lu; Xi Wang; Zhigang Suo; Vlassak, Joost // Journal of Materials Research;Feb2009, Vol. 24 Issue 2, p13 

    In a previous paper, we have demonstrated that a microcrystalline copper film well bonded to a polymer substrate can be stretched beyond 50% without cracking. The film eventually fails through the coevolution of necking and debonding from the substrate. Here we report much lower strains to...

  • Possible Roles of Partial Sequences at N- and C-termini of Amelogenin in Protein-Enamel Mineral Interaction. AOBA, T.; MORENO, E. C.; KRESAK, M.; TANABE, T. // Journal of Dental Research;Sep1989, Vol. 68 Issue 9, p1331 

    The purpose of this study was to assess the functional significance of homologous sequences of mammalian amelogenins at their N- and C-termini. A porcine 5-kDa fragment corresponding to the N-terminal 45 residues of amelogenins was purified from the secretary enamel. The decapeptide TDKTKREEVD...

  • Crystal Growth of Thiol-Stabilized Gold Nanoparticles by Heat-Induced Coalescence. Sook Young Moon; Tanaka, Shun-ichiro; Sekino, Tohru // Nanoscale Research Letters;May2010, Vol. 5 Issue 5, p813 

    A monolayer of dodecanethiol-stabilized gold nanoparticles changed into two-dimensional and three-dimensional self-organized structures by annealing at 323 K. Subsequent crystal growth of gold nanoparticles occurred. Thiol molecules, although chemisorbed, form relatively unstable bonds with the...

  • A Microfluidic, High Throughput Protein Crystal Growth Method for Microgravity. Carruthers Jr, Carl W.; Gerdts, Cory; Johnson, Michael D.; Webb, Paul // PLoS ONE;Nov2013, Vol. 8 Issue 11, p1 

    The attenuation of sedimentation and convection in microgravity can sometimes decrease irregularities formed during macromolecular crystal growth. Current terrestrial protein crystal growth (PCG) capabilities are very different than those used during the Shuttle era and that are currently on the...

  • Magnetic properties of YBa2 Cu3Oy crystal with various oxygen annealing conditions. Watahiki, Masaya; Jang, Wen-Jye; Tajima, Setuko; Murakami, Masato // Journal of Applied Physics;1/1/1998, Vol. 83 Issue 1, p377 

    Analyzes the magnetic properties of YBa2 Cu3Oy crystal. Experimental procedure used; Information on the annealing conditions for a Y123 crystal grown by a crystal pulling technique; Results of the findings.


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics