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Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr. 2000 Jul;56(Pt 7):789-90.

The protein content in crystals and packing coefficients in different space groups.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, Scotland.


A precise way of estimating the packing coefficient, i.e. the ratio between the protein and unit-cell volume, or solvent content in protein crystals is given. At present, the solvent content is not given for most proteins in the Protein Data Bank and in many cases where it is given the values are dubious. The mean density of proteins in the crystalline form is around 1.22 g cm(-3), not 1.35 g cm(-3) as usually stated. This is equivalent to 19.5 A(3) per non-H atom. A statistical investigation of the average protein content and packing coefficient in different space groups is presented. The packing coefficients are generally higher in the most frequently occurring space groups than in the uncommon space groups. There is also a remarkable difference in frequency distribution for enantiomorphous pairs of space groups.

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