Crystal Surprise: Preciptating Protein Takes the Shape of a Brain

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Submitted by Brian Levine and Olesya Levsh of the Weng Laboratory at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

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Stereo Microscopy

In order to understand the contribution of co-evolving amino acid residues (termed “sectors”) in the protein to properties such as enzyme stability and activity, we are performing an alanine scanning mutagenesis across the entire sequence. We attempted to crystallize a protein for x-ray crystallography, but instead t his particular condition yielded excessive precipitation and phase separation, in the shape of a human brain.