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J Struct Biol. 2004 Nov;148(2):169-75.

Rational design of lipid for membrane protein crystallization.

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Biophysics Program, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


The lipidic cubic phase has been used to grow crystals of membrane proteins for high-resolution structure determination. However, the original, so-called, in meso method does not work reliably at low temperatures, where proteins are generally more stable, because the hosting lipid turns solid. The need existed therefore for a lipid that forms the cubic phase and that supports crystal growth at low temperatures. We created a database of phase diagrams and used it to design such a lipid. X-ray diffraction showed that the new lipid exhibits designed phase behavior. Further, it produces diffraction quality membrane protein crystals by the in meso method at 6 degrees C. This demonstrates that lipidic materials, like their protein counterparts are amenable to rational design. The same approach as used in this study should find application in extending the range of membrane proteins crystallizable by the in meso method and in tailoring transport of cubic phases for controlled delivery and uptake.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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