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Title: Do protein crystals nucleate within dense liquid clusters?

The evolution of protein-rich clusters and nucleating crystals were characterized by dynamic light scattering (DLS), confocal depolarized dynamic light scattering (cDDLS) and depolarized oblique illumination dark-field microscopy. Newly nucleated crystals within protein-rich clusters were detected directly. These observations indicate that the protein-rich clusters are locations for crystal nucleation. Protein-dense liquid clusters are regions of high protein concentration that have been observed in solutions of several proteins. The typical cluster size varies from several tens to several hundreds of nanometres and their volume fraction remains below 10{sup −3} of the solution. According to the two-step mechanism of nucleation, the protein-rich clusters serve as locations for and precursors to the nucleation of protein crystals. While the two-step mechanism explained several unusual features of protein crystal nucleation kinetics, a direct observation of its validity for protein crystals has been lacking. Here, two independent observations of crystal nucleation with the proteins lysozyme and glucose isomerase are discussed. Firstly, the evolutions of the protein-rich clusters and nucleating crystals were characterized simultaneously by dynamic light scattering (DLS) and confocal depolarized dynamic light scattering (cDDLS), respectively. It is demonstrated that protein crystals appear following a significant delay after cluster formation. The cDDLS correlation functions follow a Gaussianmore » decay, indicative of nondiffusive motion. A possible explanation is that the crystals are contained inside large clusters and are driven by the elasticity of the cluster surface. Secondly, depolarized oblique illumination dark-field microscopy reveals the evolution from liquid clusters without crystals to newly nucleated crystals contained in the clusters to grown crystals freely diffusing in the solution. Collectively, the observations indicate that the protein-rich clusters in lysozyme and glucose isomerase solutions are locations for crystal nucleation.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ; ;  [3] ;  [1] ;  [3] ;  [1] ;  [4] ;  [4]
  1. Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 1050 Brussels (Belgium)
  2. University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204 (United States)
  3. Universita di Milano, 20133 Milano (Italy)
  4. (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22389081
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Acta crystallographica. Section F, Structural biology communications; Journal Volume: 71; Journal Issue: Pt 7; Other Information: PMCID: PMC4498701; PMID: 26144225; PUBLISHER-ID: en5566; PUBLISHER-ID: S2053230X15008997; OAI: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:4498701; Copyright (c) Maes et al. 2015; This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original authors and source are cited.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
75 CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS, SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AND SUPERFLUIDITY; CORRELATION FUNCTIONS; CORRELATIONS; CRYSTALLIZATION; CRYSTALS; ELASTICITY; GLUCOSE; ILLUMINANCE; LIGHT SCATTERING; LIQUIDS; LYSOZYME; MATHEMATICAL SOLUTIONS; NUCLEATION; PRECURSOR; SURFACES