SAD Phasing of Proteins Using Xenon Gas
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Structural biology is a branch of science related to biochemistry, biophysics, and molecular biology that deals with the molecular structures of biological macromolecules, in particular nucleic acids and proteins. Structure-guided drug design uses three-dimensional knowledge of protein structures to design small molecules which block the action of specific proteins. When crystals of theses macromolecules and their complexes can be obtained, their crystal structures can be determined by using isomorphous differences between a native structure and a derivative structure. This allows crystallographers to determine the coordinates of a small number of heavy atoms which provide initial phases for macromolecules. The advent of synchrotron radiation allowed determination of a heavy atom substructure by use of anomalous differences using either multiple wavelengths (MAD) or a single wavelength (SAD); the latter has become the most common phasing method in crystallography and is the method used in this study. The use of SeMet has been by far the most successful method employed in SAD. However, in some cases production of SeMet proteins is not possible thus necessitating additional options, for example, xenon. Noble gases such as xenon may be used in SAD experiments by binding to various, non-specific sites. Advances in noble gas pressurization systems like the Hampton Research Xenon Chamber have greatly eased the production of noble gas derivatives, xenon itself being a prime candidate with a very strong anomalous signal when compared to lighter noble gases like krypton and argon. Investigation of the phasing properties of xenon was carried out on test proteins hen egg white lysozyme (HEWL), thermolysin, glucose isomerase, and thaumatin II. Phases were successfully determined for all four proteins including thaumatin II which did not bind xenon but was successful due to the anomalous signal from 17 native sulfurs. The three remaining proteins showed varying occupancies and numbers of sites including xenon sites in thermolysin and glucose isomerase which have not been observed previously. This document will serve as a guide for the preparation of xenon derivative crystals and provides a strategy for the collection and processing of data from xenon derivatives.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
DepartmentPharmacy and Nutrition
CommitteeSanders, David; Fodje, Michel
Copyright DateApril 2015