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J Struct Biol. 1998;121(3):356-61.

Growth of Protein 2-D Crystals on Supported Planar Lipid Bilayers Imaged in Situ by AFM.

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GBB, University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 4, Groningen, 9747 AG, The Netherlands


Theories of crystallization, both in 3-D and 2-D, are still very limited, mainly due to the scarcity of experimental approaches providing pertinent data on elementary phenomena. We present here a novel experimental approach for following, in real time and in situ, the process of 2-D crystallization of proteins on solid supports. Using annexin V as a model of a protein binding by affinity to a lipid matrix, we show that 2-D crystals of proteins can be formed on supported planar lipid bilayers (SPBs). Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) enables the process of 2-D crystal growth to be visualized. The submolecular organization of the crystals was characterized at a resolution of approximately 2 nanometers, and defects, hitherto not observed in protein crystals, were resolved. These results have potential applications in basic and applied sciences.


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