Crystallization of Protein and Nucleic Acids: A Survey of Methods and Importance of the Purity of the Macromolecules

  • Richard Giegé
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 126)


Purification and crystallization of macromolecules are often challenging steps in structural projects using X-ray diffraction methods (1,2) and in some cases they can represent limiting factors. This explains the recent interest of molecular biologists and physicists to better understand crystal growth of macromolecules (3). In what follows we will discuss the role of purification in the crystallization of biopolymers and give particular emphasis to the concept of purity of preparations. Experimental set ups and properties of precipitants used to induce crystallization will be reviewed. Particular parameters affecting crystal growth of proteins (i.e. proteolysis) or of nucleic acids (i.e. nature of counter-ions, nuclease digestion, chemical fragility of RNAs) will be discussed. Examples taken from our laboratory in the field of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases and transfer ribonucleic acids, and more generally in the field of nucleoproteins will illustrate the subject.


Crystal Growth Ammonium Sulfate Polyethylene Glycol Bacillus Stearothermophilus Protein Crystallization 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Giegé
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut de Biologie MoléculaireCellulaire du CNRSStrasbourg CedexFrance

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