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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The influence of precipitant concentration on macromolecular crystal growth mechanisms

  • Author(s): Kuznetsov, YG
  • Malkin, AJ
  • McPherson, A
  • et al.

Atomic force microscopy was applied to investigate the influence of protein and precipitant (sodium-potassium tartrate) concentration on thaumatin crystal growth mechanisms. At constant protein concentration, a decrease of salt concentration from 0.8 to 0.085M caused a transition of the crystal growth mechanism from two-dimensional nucleation to dislocation growth. At different, fixed concentrations of salt, the protein concentration, which does not induce multiple crystal nucleation, was increased from 8 to 60mg/ml with corresponding increases in the tangential velocity of growth steps from 5 to 17.5nm/s. Results from these experiments suggest that a highly concentrated protein solution, as might be found in a protein rich phase, may not induce crystal nucleation, but can promote crystal growth if screw dislocations are present in the crystal. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

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