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Practical Physics Behind Growing Crystals of Biological Macromolecules

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The aim of this review is to provide biocrystallographers who intend to tackle protein-crystallization with theory and practical examples. Crystallization involves two separate processes, nucleation and growth, which are rarely completely unconnected. Here we give theoretical background and concrete examples illustrating protein crystallization. We describe the nucleation of a new phase, solid or liquid, and the growth and transformation of existing crystals obtained by primary or secondary nucleation or by seeding. Above all, we believe that a thorough knowledge of the phase diagram is vital to the selection of starting position and path for any crystallization experiment.
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Keywords: Crystal growth; PEG; acidic proteins; inorganic molecules; nucleation; phase transition; ripening solubility; supersaturation; vapor diffusion method

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-07-01

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  • Protein & Peptide Letters publishes short papers in all important aspects of protein and peptide research, including structural studies, recombinant expression, function, synthesis, enzymology, immunology, molecular modeling, drug design etc. Manuscripts must have a significant element of novelty, timeliness and urgency that merit rapid publication. Reports of crystallisation, and preliminary structure determinations of biologically important proteins are acceptable. Purely theoretical papers are also acceptable provided they provide new insight into the principles of protein/peptide structure and function.
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