Protein crystals, routinely prepared for the elucidation of protein 3D structures by X-ray crystallography, present an ordered and highly accurate 3D array of protein molecules. Inherent to the 3D arrangement of the protein molecules in the crystal is a complementary 3D array of voids made of interconnected cavities and exhibiting highly ordered porosity. The permeability of the porosity of chemically crosslinked enzyme protein crystals to low molecular weight solutes, was used for enzyme mediated organic synthesis and size exclusion chromatography. This permeability might be extended to explore new potential applications for protein crystals, for example, their use as bio-templates for the fabrication of novel, nano-structured composite materials. The quality of composites obtained from "filling" of the ordered voids in protein crystals and their potential applications will be strongly dependent upon an accurate preservation of the order in the original protein crystal 3D array during the "filling" process. Here we propose and demonstrate the feasibility of monitoring the changes in 3D order of the protein array by a step-by-step molecular level monitoring of a model system for hydrogel bio-templating by glutaraldehyde crosslinked lysozyme crystals. This monitoring is based on step-by-step comparative analysis of data obtained from (i) X-ray crystallography: resolution, unit cell dimensions and B-factor values and (ii) fluorescence decay kinetics of ultra-fast laser activated dye, impregnated within these crystals. Our results demonstrated feasibility of the proposed monitoring approach and confirmed that the stabilized protein crystal template retained its 3D structure throughout the process.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Biotechnology and Bioengineering|
|State||Published - 5 Aug 2006|
- Cross-linked gel
- Fluorescence decay dynamics
- Protein crystals
- X-ray diffraction