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The cysteine-based protein phosphatase H1L was the first reported dual-specificity protein phosphatase. H1L is encapsidated within the vaccinia virus and is required for successful host infection and for the production of viable vaccinia progeny. H1L has therefore been proposed as a target candidate for antiviral compounds. Recombinant H1L has been expressed in a catalytically inactive form using an Escherichia coli host, leading to purification and crystallization by the microbatch method. The crystals diffract to 2.1 Å resolution using synchrotron radiation. These crystals belong to space group P422, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 98.31, c = 169.15 Å, and are likely to contain four molecules in the asymmetric unit. A sulfur SAD data set was collected to 2.8 Å resolution on beamline BM14 at the ESRF to facilitate structure determination. Attempts to derivatize these crystals with xenon gas changed the space group to I422, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 63.28, c = 169.68 Å and a single molecule in the asymmetric unit. The relationship between these two crystal forms is discussed.

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