The Structure of Protein Molecules: In Celebration of the International Year of Crystallography, 2014

Authors: Gary Hunter, Marita Vella, Rosalin Bonetta, Diane Farrugia, Therese Hunter

Corresponding: Therese Hunter (

Keywords: Protein Structure, Expression, Puri cation, X-ray crystallography


Issue: Xjenza Online Vol. 2 Iss. 1 - March 2014

Many people, including laymen, are aware of the double helical nature of the DNA molecule. A few may actually realise that it was the technique of X-ray crystallography that was the key to solving this struc- ture. Even fewer will understand the uses and applica- tions of crystallography to the most diverse of biological materials; proteins. In this review we discuss the appli- cation of a number of methodologies required to progress from a cloned gene to protein expression and puri ca- tion, crystallisation conditions and eventually to X-ray structure determination. We provide our own experi- ence in the eld as examples of the procedures required. Protein crystallographers worldwide are contributing to our understanding of how enzymes work, how our im- mune system defends us against viruses and are using structural information to design novel pharmaceutical reagents.

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