A test of macromolecular crystallization in microgravity

Large well ordered insulin crystals

Gloria E Borgstahl, A. Vahedi-Faridi, J. Lovelace, H. D. Bellamy, E. H. Snell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Crystals of insulin grown in microgravity on Space Shuttle Mission STS-95 were extremely well ordered and unusually large (many >2 mm). The physical characteristics of six microgravity and six earth-grown crystals were examined by X-ray analysis employing superfine φ slicing and unfocused synchrotron radiation. This experimental setup allowed hundreds of reflections to be precisely examined from each crystal in a short period of time. The microgravity crystals were on average 34 times larger, had sevenfold lower mosaicity, had 54-fold higher reflection peak heights and diffracted to significantly higher resolution than their earth-grown counterparts. A single mosaic domain model could account for the observed reflection profiles in microgravity crystals, whereas data from earth crystals required a model with multiple mosaic domains. This statistically significant and unbiased characterization indicates that the microgravity environment was useful for the improvement of crystal growth and the resultant diffraction quality in insulin crystals and may be similarly useful for macromolecular crystals in general.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1204-1207
Number of pages4
JournalActa Crystallographica Section D: Biological Crystallography
Volume57
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 23 2001

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Weightlessness
insulin
Microgravity
Crystallization
microgravity
Insulin
crystallization
Crystals
crystals
Earth (planet)
Synchrotrons
Space Shuttle missions
slicing
space transportation system
X-Rays
Radiation
Space shuttles
X ray analysis
Synchrotron radiation
crystal growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Structural Biology

Cite this

A test of macromolecular crystallization in microgravity : Large well ordered insulin crystals. / Borgstahl, Gloria E; Vahedi-Faridi, A.; Lovelace, J.; Bellamy, H. D.; Snell, E. H.

In: Acta Crystallographica Section D: Biological Crystallography, Vol. 57, No. 8, 23.08.2001, p. 1204-1207.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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