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Mechanisms and Kinetics of Membrane Protein Crystallization in Self-Assembled Mesophases

Location

NIST Center for Neutron Research

RO# Location
50.61.01.B6535 Gaithersburg, MD

Please note: This Agency only participates in the February and August reviews.

Advisers

Name E-mail Phone
Butler, Paul David paul.butler@nist.gov 301.975.2028
Krueger, Susan susan.krueger@nist.gov 301.975.6734

Description

Membrane proteins participate in virtually all interactions between cells and the surrounding media and play vital roles in all biological processes involving transport across cell membranes, charge separation, energy converting biological processes, and signal transduction. However, despite their obvious importance, atomic structures have been determined for only a few dozen of these proteins because of the difficulty of producing membrane protein crystals of the quality required for high-resolution x-ray or neutron diffraction studies. Numerous approaches involving surfactant-based systems exploiting the spontaneously self assembling properties of lipids have recently attracted considerable attention due to some promising initial results using the so-called crystallization “in meso” techniques. We are interested in understanding the phases formed and the mechanisms involved in the successful crystallizations to date in order to enable rational design approaches to extending their utility. We use Small-Angle Neutron Scattering (SANS) in combination with a variety of other techniques such as light scattering and polarized microscopy to understand the details of the structures of the various components and their interactions at various stages in the crystallization process.

 

Keywords:
Complex fluids; In-cubo; Lipid mesophase; Membrane protein; Neutron scattering; Protein crystallization; Small-angle scattering; Surfactant;

Eligibility

Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral applicants
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