???Detergents and crystallography.

Kevin J Woolley kjw1 at stirling.ac.uk
Tue Jun 25 04:11:38 EST 1996

Mike Faughn wrote:
> Hi,
> I am not a crystallography, but I play one on TV.  Actually, I'm a
> molecular biologist trying to solubilize a protein.  I have had some
> correspondance with a chap that suggested to me the use of a detergent
> called Thesit, also known as polyoxyethylene 9 lauryl ether and as
> nonaethylene glycol monododecyl ether.  Anyhow, the guy said that not
> only did it work wonders in solubilizing his otherwise very floculent
> protein but also was a detergent whose presence could be tolerated
> during crystallography.  So, I would like to here it from the
> experts--
> What detergents (if any) are both useful for solubilzing proteins and
> are compatible with crystallography???????????
> Any good reading on this subject (remember I only play a
> crystallographer on TV)???????????
I just read this group out of interest now as I work on other things
(see sig), but back in the early 80's when I was a postdoc I worked with
(for :-) Richard Cogdell crystallizing the Bacterial light harvesting
complex (a membrane protein).  These need detergent to stay in solution,
and as I recall we used various PEGs to solubilize then exchanged into
Benzamidine Hydrochloride to crystallize.  Hartmunt Michel who got the
structure of the Bacterial Photosyntheis complex used something like
hept-7-ol.  You shouldn't have any difficulty finding the reference for
the later as it was the first membrane protein to have it's structure
determined by XRay crystallography and Hartmunt got the Nobel prize for
it (if I might name-drop I spent a summer in his lab and he's a _really_
nice guy).  Think our protein was the second, and the result was on the
cover of Nature last year sometime (about 8 years after I'd left).


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