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Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr. 1994 Jan 1;50(Pt 1):71-4.

Isomorphous binding of mercury-substituted thiosaccharides to pertussis toxin crystals yields crystallographic phases.

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Department of Chemistry, Princeton University, NJ 08544, USA.


An isomorphous derivative of pertussis toxin crystals was prepared using a 2-alpha-mercuric analog of N-acetyl neuraminic acid in a method analogous to the use of inhibitors labelled with heavy atoms to solve crystal structures of enzymes. This derivative exploits the specific binding between pertussis toxin and terminal sialic acid residues on receptor glycoproteins. Difference Patterson maps yielded heavy-atom sites which refined with good statistics, indicating that the protein probably does not undergo a conformational change on receptor binding. Mercuric analogs of other monosaccharides should be easily obtainable using the same synthetic strategy, suggesting a general method for derivatizing crystals of carbohydrate-binding proteins.


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