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Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr. 2002 Oct;58(Pt 10 Pt 1):1674-80. Epub 2002 Sep 26.

From conventional crystallization to better crystals from space: a review on pilot crystallogenesis studies with aspartyl-tRNA synthetases.

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  • 1Département Mécanismes et Macromolécules de la Synthèse Protéique et Cristallogenèse, UPR 9002, 15 rue René Descartes, F-67084 Strasbourg Cedex, France.


Aspartyl-tRNA synthetases were the model proteins in pilot crystallogenesis experiments. They are homodimeric enzymes of Mr approximately 125 kDa that possess as substrates a transfer RNA, ATP and aspartate. They have been isolated from different sources and were crystallized either as free proteins or in association with their ligands. This review discusses their crystallisability with emphasis to crystal quality and structure determination. Crystallization in low diffusivity gelled media or in microgravity environments is highlighted. It has contributed to prepare high-resolution diffracting crystals with better internal order as reflected by their mosaicity. With AspRS from Thermus thermophilus, the better crystalline quality of the space-grown crystals within APCF is correlated with higher quality of the derived electron density maps. Usefulness for structural biology of targeted methods aimed to improve the intrinsic physical quality of protein crystals is highlighted.

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