Download citation
Download citation
link to html
In this work we explore the possibilities of the gel-acupuncture technique, proposed previously for the growth of protein single crystals [García-Ruiz, Moreno, Viedma & Coll (1993). Mater. Res. Bull. 28, 541-546]. The main advantage of the technique is that the crystals are obtained inside an X-ray capillary and, unlike classical microdiffusion techniques, it involves a very simple and accurate technical arrangement that permits the continuous monitoring of the crystals in their growth environment. In particular, we describe the growth of single crystals of lysozyme, concanavalin A and ribonuclease A. Different starting conditions have been used to grow single crystals of these proteins into different types of capillaries at several protein and precipitating-agent concentrations. It is demonstrated that the technique works for a wide range of precipitating agents commonly used in protein crystal growth, such as large polymers (PEG 4000 and PEG 6000), organic solvents (from methanol to butanol) and salts [NaCl, (NH4)2SO4]. The range of inner diameter of the capillaries for which the technique works correctly has been also studied. The growth process and possible crystal movement was followed by video microscopy. Lysozyme crystals up to 3.1 mm were obtained but the average maximum linear crystal sizes were 2.0 mm for lysozyme, 0.4 mm for concanavalin A and 1.2 mm for ribonuclease, respectively. The waiting times to reach such a size, measured from the set-up of the experiments, were 72 h, 10 d and 5 d, respectively. Gels of tetramethoxysilane, tetraethoxysilane, sodium silicate, agar, high-strength agar and gel-gro have been tested in relation to their mechanical properties and their chemical interaction with the reactants. Finally, we discuss briefly the advantages of the gel-acupuncture technique and plausible applications other than crystal growth.
Follow Acta Cryst. D
Sign up for e-alerts
Follow Acta Cryst. on Twitter
Follow us on facebook
Sign up for RSS feeds