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Effects of Convective Solute and Impurity Transport in Protein Crystal GrowthHigh-resolution optical interferometry was used to investigate the effects of forced solution convection on the crystal growth kinetics of the model protein lysozyme. Most experiments were conducted with 99.99% pure protein solutions. To study impurity effects, approx. 1% of lysozyme dimer (covalently bound) was added in some cases. We show that the unsteady kinetics, corresponding to bunching of growth steps, can be characterized by the Fourier components of time traces of the growth rate. Specific Fourier spectra are uniquely determined by the solution conditions (composition, temperature, and flow rate) and the growth layer source activity. We found that the average step velocity and growth rate increase by approx. I0% with increasing flow rate, as a result of the enhanced solute supply to the interface. More importantly, faster convective transport results in lower fluctuation amplitudes. This observation supports our rationale for system-dependent effects of transport on the structural perfection of protein crystals. We also found that solution flow rates greater than 500 microns/s result in stronger fluctuations while the average growth rate is decreased. This can lead to growth cessation at low supersaturations. With the intentionally contaminated solutions, these undesirable phenomena occurred at about half the flow rates required in pure solutions. Thus, we conclude that they are due to enhanced convective supply of impurities that are incorporated into the crystal during growth. Furthermore, we found that the impurity effects are reduced at higher crystal growth rates. Since the exposure time of terraces is inversely proportional to the growth rate, this observation suggests that the increased kinetics instability results from impurity adsorption on the interface. Finally, we provide evidence relating earlier observations of "slow protein crystal growth kinetics" to step bunch formation in response to nonsteady step generation.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Vekilov, Peter G.
(Alabama Univ. Huntsville, AL United States)
Thomas, Bill R.
(Alabama Univ. Huntsville, AL United States)
Rosenberger, Franz
(Alabama Univ. Huntsville, AL United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1998
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of Physical Chemistry B
Publisher: American Chemical Society
Volume: 102
ISSN: 1089-5647
Subject Category
Solid-State Physics
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits

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