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Trends Immunol. 2004 Dec;25(12):700-7.

Physical methods for structure, dynamics and binding in immunological research.

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Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, University of California at Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521, USA.


We present four experimental physical methods--X-ray and neutron diffraction, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, mass spectrometry and calorimetry--and two computational methods--molecular dynamics simulations and electrostatics calculations--which are general and widely applicable in the study of protein structure, dynamics and binding. These methods are useful tools for biologists that lead to structure-function, dynamics-function and binding-function correlations, in efforts to understand biomolecular function. Standard and emerging technologies within these methods are discussed and representative examples of applications in immunology are presented, from antigen-antibody, complement and MHC-T-cell receptor research. The examples demonstrate the power of the reviewed methods in immunological studies at the molecular level.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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