Elucidating and clarifying the function of membrane proteins ultimately requires atomic resolution structures as determined most commonly by X-ray crystallography. Many high impact membrane protein structures have resulted from advanced techniques such as in meso crystallization that present technical difficulties for the set-up and scale-out of high-throughput crystallization experiments. In prior work, we designed a novel, low-throughput X-ray transparent microfluidic device that automated the mixing of protein and lipid by diffusion for in meso crystallization trials. Here, we report X-ray transparent microfluidic devices for high-throughput crystallization screening and optimization that overcome the limitations of scale and demonstrate their application to the crystallization of several membrane proteins. Two complementary chips are presented: (1) a high-throughput screening chip to test 192 crystallization conditions in parallel using as little as 8 nl of membrane protein per well and (2) a crystallization optimization chip to rapidly optimize preliminary crystallization hits through fine-gradient re-screening. We screened three membrane proteins for new in meso crystallization conditions, identifying several preliminary hits that we tested for X-ray diffraction quality. Further, we identified and optimized the crystallization condition for a photosynthetic reaction center mutant and solved its structure to a resolution of 3.5Å.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry