structure AND thermodynamics

Christophe Verlinde verlinde at u.washington.edu
Mon May 23 17:00:56 EST 1994


Dear friends cystallographers,

Since a few years some of you publish papers in which not only the structural
but also the thermodynamic effects of protein mutations are addressed. A key
technique for thermodynamics is scanning calorimetry. Unfortunately, it seems
that the current calorimeters are not entirely satifactory, as we could all
read in an article written by Julian Sturtevant in the last issue of Curr.
Op. in Struct. Biol. (1994, 4, 69-78). Basically, the accuracy one is
interested in is 10**-6 times the overall heat expended in the calorimetric
experiment. Dr. Sturtevant questions whether it will be possible to make
significant improvements of scanning calorimeters.
My question is whether anyone of you ever has tried a completely new type
of calorimeter invented by Dr. Hans Coufal (IBM). His calorimeter uses a 
pyroelectric thin film made out of polivinlyfluoride and seems to have
incredible properties:
- a dynamic range between 10 pJ and 6J
- operational between 1.2 K and 500 K
- production cost of the actual calorimeter: 10 ct
Who can shed a light on this? Or, who can refer me to experts in the field?
It would be extremely beneficial if protein crystallographers could also
gather thermodynamic data on their mutant proteins. In this way, a large
database of EXPERIMENTAL data on energetics combined with STRUCTURES would 
become available. I believe this will be of crucial importance for cracking
the Holy Grail of protein folding.

Christophe Verlinde
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Dr. C.L.M.J. Verlinde		| fax: (206) 543 1524
Dept. Biol. Structure SM-20	| verlinde at stein.u.washington.edu
University of Washington	|
Seattle, WA 98195		|
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