In situ study of the state of lysozyme molecules at the very early stage of the crystallization process by small-angle X-ray scattering
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The molecular state of hen egg white lysozyme in solution has been studied by small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) combined with molecular simulation. The addition of a precipitant is shown to change the state of the protein molecules in solution. The SAXS data were processed using the constructed models of different oligomers. Under the crystallization conditions, lysozyme is shown to be present in solution as monomers (96.0%), dimers (1.9%), and octamers (2.1%), whereas tetramers and hexamers are not found. The modeled structure of the octamer is not consistent with the commonly accepted unit cell containing eight lysozyme molecules. Meanwhile, the modeled octamers are well-fitted to the crystal structure and can serve as building blocks in the course of crystal growth.
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