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    ABSTRACT: 2D crystallography has proven to be an excellent technique to determine the 3D structure of membrane proteins. Compared to 3D crystallography, it has the advantage of visualizing the protein in an environment closer to the native one. However, producing good 2D crystals is still a challenge and little statistical knowledge can be gained from literature. Here, we present a thorough screening of 2D crystallization conditions for a prokaryotic inwardly rectifying potassium channel (>130 different conditions). Key parameters leading to very large and well-organized 2D crystals are discussed. In addition, the problem of formation of multilayers during the growth of 2D crystals is also addressed. An intermediate resolution projection map of KirBac3.1 at 6 Å is presented, which sheds (to our knowledge) new light on the structure of this channel in a lipid environment.
    Biophysical Journal 07/2013; 105(2):398-408.
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    ABSTRACT: An extensive radiation chemistry literature would suggest that the addition of certain radical scavengers might mitigate the effects of radiation damage during protein crystallography diffraction data collection. However, attempts to demonstrate and quantify such an amelioration and its dose dependence have not yielded consistent results, either at room temperature (RT) or 100 K. Here the information thus far available is summarized and reasons for this lack of quantitative success are identified. Firstly, several different metrics have been used to monitor and quantify the rate of damage, and, as shown here, these can give results which are in conflict regarding scavenger efficacy. In addition, significant variation in results from data collected from crystals treated in nominally the same way has been observed. Secondly, typical crystallization conditions contain substantial concentrations of chemical species which already interact strongly with some of the X-ray-induced radicals that the added scavengers are intended to intercept. These interactions are probed here by the complementary technique of on-line microspectrophotometry carried out on solutions and crystals held both at 100 K and RT, the latter enabled by the use of a beamline-mounted humidifying device. With the help of computational chemistry, attempts are made to assign some of the characteristic spectral features observed experimentally. A further source of uncertainty undoubtedly lies in the challenge of reliably measuring the parameters necessary for the accurate calculation of the absorbed dose (e.g. crystal size and shape, beam profile) and its distribution within the volume of the crystal (an issue addressed in detail in another article in this issue). While microspectrophotometry reveals that the production of various species can be quenched by the addition of scavengers, it is less clear that this observation can be translated into a significant gain in crystal dose tolerance for macromolecular crystallographers.
    Journal of Synchrotron Radiation 01/2013; 20(Pt 1):23-36.
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    ABSTRACT: X-ray data collection for macromolecular crystallography can lead to highly inhomogeneous distributions of dose within the crystal volume for cases when the crystal is larger than the beam or when the beam is non-uniform (Gaussian-like), particularly when crystal rotation is fully taken into account. Here the spatial distribution of dose is quantitatively modelled in order to compare the effectiveness of two dose-spreading data-collection protocols: helical scanning and translational collection. Their effectiveness in reducing the peak dose per unit diffraction is investigated via simulations for four common crystal shapes (cube, plate, long and short needles) and beams with a wide range of full width half maximum values. By inspection of the chosen metric, it is concluded that the optimum strategy is always to use as flat (top-hat) a beam as possible and to either match the beam size in both dimensions to the crystal, or to perform a helical scan with a beam which is narrow along the rotation axis and matched to the crystal size along the perpendicular axis. For crystal shapes where this is not possible, the reduction in peak dose per unit diffraction achieved through dose spreading is quantified and tabulated as a reference for experimenters.
    Journal of Synchrotron Radiation 01/2013; 20(Pt 1):49-57.
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    ABSTRACT: Research into radiation damage in macromolecular crystallography has matured over the last few years, resulting in a better understanding of both the processes and timescales involved. In turn this is now allowing practical recommendations for the optimization of crystal dose lifetime to be suggested. Some long-standing questions have been answered by recent investigations, and from these answers new challenges arise and areas of investigation can be proposed. Six papers published in this volume give an indication of some of the current directions of this field and also that of single-particle cryo-microscopy, and the brief summary below places them into the overall framework of ongoing research into macromolecular crystallography radiation damage.
    Journal of Synchrotron Radiation 01/2013; 20(Pt 1):1-6.
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    Biochemical Education. 06/2010; 9(4):153 - 153.
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    Protein Science 12/2008; 8(6):1371 - 1373.
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    ABSTRACT: In this study we present a method for defining the binding modes of a set of structurally related isoindolinone inhibitors of the MDM2-p53 interaction. This approach derives the location and orientation of isoindolinone binding, based on an analysis of the patterns of magnitude and direction of chemical shift perturbations for a series of inhibitors of the MDM2-p53 interaction. The MDM2-p53 complex is an attractive target for therapeutic intervention in cancer cells with intact tumor suppressor p53, as it offers the possibility of releasing p53 by blocking the MDM2-p53 binding site with a small molecule antagonist to promote apoptosis. Isoindolinones are a novel class of MDM2-antagonists of moderate affinity, which still require the development of more potent candidates for clinical applications. As the applicability of conventional structural methods to this system is limited by a number of fundamental factors, the exploitation of the information contained in chemical shift perturbations has offered a useful route to obtaining structural information to guide the development of more potent compounds. For a set of 12 structurally related isoindolinones, the data suggests 4 different orientations of binding, caused by subtle changes in the chemical structure of the inhibitors.
    Journal of the American Chemical Society 11/2008; 130(47):16038-44.
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    ABSTRACT: The ALDH2*2 gene encoding the inactive variant form of mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2) protects nearly all carriers of this gene from alcoholism. Inhibition of ALDH2 has hence become a possible strategy to treat alcoholism. The natural product 7-O-glucosyl-4'-hydroxyisoflavone (daidzin), isolated from the kudzu vine ( Peruraria lobata), is a specific inhibitor of ALDH2 and suppresses ethanol consumption. Daidzin is the active principle in a herbal remedy for "alcohol addiction" and provides a lead for the design of improved ALDH2. The structure of daidzin/ALDH2 in complex at 2.4 A resolution shows the isoflavone moiety of daidzin binding close to the aldehyde substrate-binding site in a hydrophobic cleft and the glucosyl function binding to a hydrophobic patch immediately outside the isoflavone-binding pocket. These observations provide an explanation for both the specificity and affinity of daidzin (IC50 =80 nM) and the affinity of analogues with different substituents at the glucosyl position.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 08/2008; 51(15):4482-7.
  • Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS 07/2008; 65(15):2271-6.
  • Ciba Foundation Symposium 95 - Brush Border Membranes, 05/2008: pages 273 - 286; , ISBN: 9780470720769
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