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Researchers devise technique to allow X-ray crystallography of un-crystallized molecule groups

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Posted March 29, 2013
The crystal structure of a chiral guest, santonin, trapped in a crystalline sponge. Credit: Nature 495, 461–466 (28 March 2013) doi:10.1038/nature11990

The crystal structure of a chiral guest, santonin, trapped in a crystalline sponge. Credit: Nature 495, 461–466 (28 March 2013) doi:10.1038/nature11990

A team of researchers working in Japan has developed a method for allowing X-ray crystallography to work on molecular groups that have not first been crystallized. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes how they built small scaffolds that resemble pockets for the molecules to rest in, securing them in place and allowing for X-ray crystallography analysis.

Over the years, X-ray crystallography has become one of the more important tools of modern research—it allows for the shape of molecules to be determined, which is important because molecular shape determines how different molecules can bind together. One roadblock to its use in some areas has been the difficulty in getting some molecule groups to crystallize—a necessary prelude to using X-ray crystallography because it causes the molecules to sit still in a way that allows them to be analyzed. In this new research effort, the team in Japan has found a way to allow researchers to use X-ray crystallography without having to get molecule groups to first crystallize.

Read more at: Phys.org

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