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Free-falling Crystals: Biological Macromolecular Crystal Growth Studies in Low Earth OrbitSpacecraft orbiting the earth experience a reduced acceleration environment due to being in a state of continuous free-fall. This state colloquially termed microgravity, has produced improved X-ray diffraction quality crystals of biological macromolecules. Improvements in X-ray diffraction resolution (detail) or signal to noise, provide greater detail in the three-dimensional molecular structure providing information about the molecule, how it works, how to improve its function or how to impede it. Greater molecular detail obtained by crystallization in microgravity, has important implications for structural biology. In this article we examine the theories behind macromolecule crystal quality improvement in microgravity using results obtained from studies with the model protein, chicken egg white lysozyme.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Marshall Space Flight Center
Document Type
Judge, Russell A.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Snell, E. H.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Pusey, M. L.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Whitaker, Ann F.
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2001
Subject Category
Solid-State Physics
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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