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Viola R.,Square One Systems Design, Inc | Walsh J.,Square One Systems Design, Inc | Melka A.,Square One Systems Design, Inc | Womack W.,Square One Systems Design, Inc | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Structural and Functional Genomics | Year: 2011

The demonstration unit of the Universal Micromanipulation Robot (UMR) capable of semi-autonomous protein crystal harvesting has been tested and evaluated by independent users. We report the status and capabilities of the present unit scheduled for deployment in a high-throughput protein crystallization center. We discuss operational aspects as well as novel features such as micro-crystal handling and drip-cryoprotection, and we extrapolate towards the design of a fully autonomous, integrated system capable of reliable crystal harvesting. The positive to enthusiastic feedback from the participants in an evaluation workshop indicates that genuine demand exists and the effort and resources to develop autonomous protein crystal harvesting robotics are justified. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Source


Deller M.C.,Scripps Research Institute | Rupp B.,K. k. Hofkristallamt | Rupp B.,Innsbruck Medical University
Acta Crystallographica Section F:Structural Biology Communications | Year: 2014

The harvesting of protein crystals is almost always a necessary step in the determination of a protein structure using X-ray crystallographic techniques. However, protein crystals are usually fragile and susceptible to damage during the harvesting process. For this reason, protein crystal harvesting is the single step that remains entirely dependent on skilled human intervention. Automation has been implemented in the majority of other stages of the structure-determination pipeline, including cloning, expression, purification, crystallization and data collection. The gap in automation between crystallization and data collection results in a bottleneck in throughput and presents unfortunate opportunities for crystal damage. Several automated protein crystal harvesting systems have been developed, including systems utilizing microcapillaries, microtools, microgrippers, acoustic droplet ejection and optical traps. However, these systems have yet to be commonly deployed in the majority of crystallography laboratories owing to a variety of technical and cost-related issues. Automation of protein crystal harvesting remains essential for harnessing the full benefits of fourth-generation synchrotrons, free-electron lasers and microfocus beamlines. Furthermore, automation of protein crystal harvesting offers several benefits when compared with traditional manual approaches, including the ability to harvest microcrystals, improved flash-cooling procedures and increased throughput. © 2014 International Union of Crystallography All rights reserved. Source


Deller M.C.,Stanford University | Kong L.,U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases | Rupp B.,K. k. Hofkristallamt | Rupp B.,Innsbruck Medical University
Acta Crystallographica Section:F Structural Biology Communications | Year: 2016

Protein stability is a topic of major interest for the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and food industries, in addition to being a daily consideration for academic researchers studying proteins. An understanding of protein stability is essential for optimizing the expression, purification, formulation, storage and structural studies of proteins. In this review, discussion will focus on factors affecting protein stability, on a somewhat practical level, particularly from the view of a protein crystallographer. The differences between protein conformational stability and protein compositional stability will be discussed, along with a brief introduction to key methods useful for analyzing protein stability. Finally, tactics for addressing protein-stability issues during protein expression, purification and crystallization will be discussed. © 2016. Source


Pozharski E.,University of Maryland, Baltimore | Weichenberger C.X.,European Academy of Bozen Bolzano EURAC | Rupp B.,K. k. Hofkristallamt
Acta Crystallographica Section D: Biological Crystallography | Year: 2013

As a result of substantial instrumental automation and the continuing improvement of software, crystallographic studies of biomolecules are conducted by non-experts in increasing numbers. While improved validation almost ensures that major mistakes in the protein part of structure models are exceedingly rare, in ligand-protein complex structures, which in general are most interesting to the scientist, ambiguous ligand electron density is often difficult to interpret and the modelled ligands are generally more difficult to properly validate. Here, (i) the primary technical reasons and potential human factors leading to problems in ligand structure models are presented; (ii) the most common categories of building errors or overinterpretation are classified; (iii) a few instructive and specific examples are discussed in detail, including an electron-density-based analysis of ligand structures that do not contain any ligands; (iv) means of avoiding such mistakes are suggested and the implications for database validity are discussed and (v) a user-friendly software tool that allows non-expert users to conveniently inspect ligand density is provided. Source


Weichenberger C.X.,European Academy of Bozen Bolzano EURAC | Pozharski E.,University of Maryland, Baltimore | Rupp B.,K. k. Hofkristallamt
Acta Crystallographica Section F: Structural Biology and Crystallization Communications | Year: 2013

Three-dimensional models of protein structures determined by X-ray crystallography are based on the interpretation of experimentally derived electron-density maps. The real-space correlation coefficient (RSCC) provides an easily comprehensible, objective measure of the residue-based fit of atom coordinates to electron density. Among protein structure models, protein-ligand complexes are of special interest, given their contribution to understanding the molecular underpinnings of biological activity and to drug design. For consumers of such models, it is not trivial to determine the degree to which ligand-structure modelling is biased by subjective electron-density interpretation. A standalone script, Twilight, is presented for the analysis, visualization and annotation of a pre-filtered set of 2815 protein-ligand complexes deposited with the PDB as of 15 January 2012 with ligand RSCC values that are below a threshold of 0.6. It also provides simplified access to the visualization of any protein-ligand complex available from the PDB and annotated by the Uppsala Electron Density Server. © 2013 International Union of Crystallography All rights reserved. Source

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