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Cell Biochem Biophys. 2004;40(3):351-69.

Hydrogen and hydration in proteins.

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Neutron Science Research Center, Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute, Shirane, Tokai-mura, Naka-gun, Ibaraki-ken, Japan.


Neutron diffraction provides an experimental method of directly locating hydrogen atoms in proteins. High-resolution neutron diffractometers dedicated to biological macromolecules (BIX-type diffractometer) have been constructed at the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute and they have been used in the 1.5A-resolution crystal structure analyses of several proteins. Interesting topics relevant to hydrogen and hydration in proteins, such as (1) the detailed geometry of hydrogen bonds; (2) information regarding hydrogen/deuterium exchange behavior; (3) the acidities of certain H atoms; (4) the role of hydrogen atoms in enzyme mechanisms and thermostability; (5) the location methyl hydrogen atoms; and (6) dynamical behavior of hydration structures that include H positions have been extracted from these structural results. In addition, a method for the systematic growth of large single crystals based on phase diagrams has been introduced and will be briefly described in this article.

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