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Novel tools for crystallisation of macromolecules

Objective

The elucidation of 3-dimensional structures of proteins and other biological macromolecules and complexes is essential for rational drug design, targeting and delivery, biocatalysis, the design of environmentally friendly agrochemicals, the development of biosensors and other nanobiotechnological applications. The most powerful tool for structural analysis is X-ray crystallography, which crucially depends on growth of high diffraction quality crystals. Crystallisation is the least controllable and usually rate-limiting step of the process that goes from cloning a gene to using the structural information for predicting and designing function. TOPCRYST, an academia-industry project, will use Dual Polarimetric Interferometry, pioneered by Farfield Scientific Ltd., to probe crystallisation at its earliest, most crucial stages. This will allow to predict the outcome of crystallisation trials when they are still at their earliest stages and thus to rationally design such experiments in order to lead them to the desired result, i.e. well-diffracting crystals. Transfer of knowledge between academia and industry will tackle the problem of detecting crystal nucleation phenomena at the very earliest stages of crystallisation and holds a number of promises that will be investigated in its course: (i) to guide the choice of pH and buffer, temperature, precipitating agent, additive(s) etc, starting from a limited number of preliminary experiments, thus obviating the need for extensive screening; (ii) to allow to unequivocally distinguish crystalline from amorphous material, something which is not always easy even for an experienced crystalliser, with obvious possibilities of extension to high-throughput environments; (iii) to allow optimisation of conditions under real-time control; (iv) to provide an experimental underpinning to the theoretical understanding of nucleation phenomena (v) to develop novel instrumentation for crystallisation of macromolecules.

Field of science

  • /medical and health sciences/basic medicine/medicinal chemistry

Call for proposal

FP7-PEOPLE-2007-3-1-IAPP
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MC-IAPP - Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP)

Coordinator

"NATIONAL CENTER FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH ""DEMOKRITOS"""
Address
End Of Patriarchou Grigoriou E And 27 Neapoleos Street
15341 Agia Paraskevi
Greece
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
€ 241 349
Administrative Contact
Styliani Martaki (Ms.)

Participants (2)

Farfield Group Limited
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 174 587
Address
Farfield House, Southmere Court, Electra Way, Crewe Business Park
CWI 6GU Crewe
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Louise Madden (Ms.)
IMPERIAL COLLEGE OF SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY AND MEDICINE
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 98 827
Address
South Kensington Campus Exhibition Road
SW7 2AZ London
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Michael Robinson (Mr.)