New Directions in BiotechnologyThe macromolecule crystallization program within NASA is undergoing considerable pressure, particularly budgetary pressure. While it has shown some successes, they have not lived up to the expectations of others, and technological advances may rapidly overtake the natural advantages offered by crystallization in microgravity. Concomitant with the microgravity effort has been a research program to study the macromolecule crystallization process. It was believed that a better understanding of the process would lead to growth of improved crystals for X-ray diffraction studies. The results of the various research efforts have been impressive in improving our understanding of macromolecule crystallization, but have not led to any improved structures. Macromolecule crystallization for structure determination is "one of", the job being unique for every protein and finished once a structure is obtained. However, the knowledge gained is not lost, but instead lays the foundation for developments in new areas of biotechnology and nanotechnology. In this it is highly analogous to studies into small molecule crystallization, the results of which have led to our present day microelectronics-based society. We are conducting preliminary experiments into areas such as designed macromolecule crystals, macromolecule-inorganic hybrid structures, and macromolecule-based nanotechnology. In addition, our protein crystallization studies are now being directed more towards industrial and new approaches to membrane protein crystallization.
August 21, 2013
December 1, 2003
Publication: Biological and Physical Space Research Laboratory 2002 Science Review
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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IDRelationTitle20040073490Collected WorksBiological and Physical Space Research Laboratory 2002 Science Review