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Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr. 2004 Oct;60(Pt 10):1795-807. Epub 2004 Sep 23.

A robotic system for crystallizing membrane and soluble proteins in lipidic mesophases.

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Department of Chemistry, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


A high-throughput robotic system has been developed for crystallizing membrane proteins using lipidic mesophases. It incorporates commercially available components and is relatively inexpensive. The crystallization robot uses standard automated liquid-handlers and a specially built device for accurately and reproducibly delivering nanolitre volumes of highly viscous protein/lipid mesophases. Under standard conditions, the robot uses just 20 nl protein solution, 30 nl lipid and 1 microl precipitant solution. 96 wells can be set up using the robot in 13 min. Trials are performed in specially designed 96-well glass plates. The slim (<2 mm high) plates have exquisite optical properties and are well suited for the detection of microcrystals and for birefringence-free imaging between crossed polarizers. Quantitative evaluation of the crystallization progress is performed using an automated imaging system. The optics, in combination with the slim crystallization plates, enables in-focus imaging of the entire well volume in a single shot such that a 96-well plate can be imaged in just 4.5 min. The performance characteristics of the robotic system and the versatility of the crystallization robot in performing vapor-diffusion, microbatch and bicelle crystallizations of membrane and soluble proteins are described.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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