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Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr. 2010 Apr;66(Pt 4):358-65. doi: 10.1107/S0907444909053074. Epub 2010 Mar 24.

A rational approach to heavy-atom derivative screening.

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1
Structural Immunology Section, Laboratory of Immunogenetics, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, 12441 Parklawn Drive, Rockville, Maryland 20852, USA.

Abstract

Despite the development in recent times of a range of techniques for phasing macromolecules, the conventional heavy-atom derivatization method still plays a significant role in protein structure determination. However, this method has become less popular in modern high-throughput oriented crystallography, mostly owing to its trial-and-error nature, which often results in lengthy empirical searches requiring large numbers of well diffracting crystals. In addition, the phasing power of heavy-atom derivatives is often compromised by lack of isomorphism or even loss of diffraction. In order to overcome the difficulties associated with the 'classical' heavy-atom derivatization procedure, an attempt has been made to develop a rational crystal-free heavy-atom derivative-screening method and a quick-soak derivatization procedure which allows heavy-atom compound identification. The method includes three basic steps: (i) the selection of likely reactive compounds for a given protein and specific crystallization conditions based on pre-defined heavy-atom compound reactivity profiles, (ii) screening of the chosen heavy-atom compounds for their ability to form protein adducts using mass spectrometry and (iii) derivatization of crystals with selected heavy-metal compounds using the quick-soak method to maximize diffraction quality and minimize non-isomorphism. Overall, this system streamlines the process of heavy-atom compound identification and minimizes the problem of non-isomorphism in phasing.

PMID:
20382988
PMCID:
PMC2852299
DOI:
10.1107/S0907444909053074
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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