Illuminating protein crystal growth

The quality of protein crystals can sometimes make study of their structure by X-ray crystallography challenging.   Producing higher quality crystals could be facilitated by a better understanding of the crystal growth process.

One method of achieving this  involves inserting a small fluorescent dye into a protein (to form an F-protein) and adding this labelled protein to the crystallising protein.  The distribution, orientation and incorporation efficiency of the F-protein during the growth of the crystals can be studied optically using techniques including polarisation microscopy (see diagram below).

A new paper describes the use of three different F-proteins, each incorporating the dye DY-632-01 NHS ester, to study the crystallisation of the three unlabelled proteins.  This enabled visualisation of the crystal growth habits, symmetry and history as well as the distribution of the F-proteins.

In some cases, the F-proteins are preferentially incorporated into the growing crystal and can act as tracers.  Alternatively, they may not be incorporated at all and provide information about the biophysical factors which affect crystal growth (such as charge distribution and hydrophobicity).

As different F-proteins behave differently during the crystallisation of a given unlabelled protein, repeating the crystallisation experiment with different F-proteins can provide complementary information.

The distribution of F-proteins is not uniform throughout the crystal and authors conclude that that the diffraction quality of the crystal is position dependent. The incorporation of F-proteins may allow areas of higher diffraction quality to be identified.

For more information, read the full paper:

Illuminating protein crystal growth using fluorophore-labelled proteins
Alaa Adawy, Willem J. P. van Enckevort, Elisabeth S. Pierson, Willem J. de Grip and Elias Vlieg
CrystEngComm, 2014, DOI: 10.1039/C4CE01281J

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Gwenda KydGwenda Kyd has a PhD in metallocarborane chemistry from the University of Edinburgh. Other research work includes the spectroscopic study of the structure of glasses and organometallic electron-transfer reactions and the preparation of new inorganic phosphors

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August’s HOT papers

Please take a look at our new batch of HOT articles and enjoy reading in the August sunshine! These are free to access for 4 weeks only!

Our HOT articles have also been compiled into a collection and are available for viewing on our website

Encapsulated Cd3P2 quantum dots emitting from the visible to the near infrared for bio-labelling applications
Liping Ding, Shulian He, Dechao Chen, Mei Huang, Jinzhang Xu, Stephen G. Hickey, Alexander Eychmüller, Shu-Hong Yu and Shiding Miao
CrystEngComm, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CE01041H

Graphical Abstract

Free to access until 11th September 2014


Melting point–solubility–structure correlations in multicomponent crystals containing fumaric or adipic acid
Eustina Batisai, Alban Ayamine, Ornella E. Y. Kilinkissa and   Nikoletta B. Báthori
CrystEngComm, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CE01298D

Graphical Abstract

Free to access until 11th September 2014


Cocrystals of telmisartan: characterization, structure elucidation, in vivo and toxicity studies
Renu Chadha, Swati Bhandari, Jamshed Haneef, Sadhika Khullar and Sanjay Mandal
CrystEngComm, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CE00797B

Graphical Abstract

Free to access until 9th September 2014


Orthogonal halogen and hydrogen bonds involving a peptide bond model
Vera Vasylyeva, Susanta K. Nayak, Giancarlo Terraneo, Gabriella Cavallo, Pierangelo Metrangolo and Giuseppe Resnati
CrystEngComm, 2014, 16, 8102-8105
DOI: 10.1039/C4CE01514B

Graphical Abstract

Free to access until 9th September 2014

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Al-based MOFS for heat distribution

The use of fossil fuel-powered vapour compressors for the allocation of hot and cold air makes a significant contribution to global warming. A greener alternative involves reversible adsorption and desorption of a working fluid (often water) in adsorption heat pumps (AHPs) or adsorption chillers (ADCs), concepts originally devised by Michael Faraday in 1848.

The limiting factor when using MOF-based AHPs and ADCs is the rate of heat transfer. In this light, Al-based MOFs provide an attractive target as Al can not only provide a heat-conducting surface, but is also naturally abundant and of low toxicity.

Heat transfer MOFS

MOFs for heat transfer

In their recent paper in CrystEngComm, de Lange, Gascon and co-workers evaluate a series Al-based MOFs for use in AHPs and ADCs. Of all the materials they tested, the most favourable characteristics were shown by the compound designated CAU-10-H, a material comprised of [Al–OH]2+ chains linked together by isophthalic acid, (CAU is Christian-Albrechts-Universität, where the compounds were first developed). 

In the presence of hydrochloric acid, CAU-10-H can be grown directly on to γ-alumina beads or metallic aluminium. These systems show good water adsorption and stability.  Up to 38kJ of heat can be withdrawn in the evaporator of an AHP/ADC per square metre of Al-coated surface, suggesting further study and development of Al-MOFs is worthwhile.

For more details, read the full paper:

Crystals for sustainability – structuring Al-based MOFs for the allocation of heat and cold
M. F. de Lange, C. P. Ottevanger, M. Wiegman, T. J. H. Vlugt, J. Gascon and F. Kapteijn
CrystEngComm, 2014, DOI: 10.1039/C4CE01073F


Gwenda Kyd

Gwenda Kyd has a PhD in metallocarborane chemistry from the University of Edinburgh. Other research work includes the spectroscopic study of the structure of glasses and organometallic electron-transfer reactions and the preparation of new inorganic phosphors

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Call for papers: 2015 themed issues

We are delighted to announce two new CrystEngComm themed issues to be published in 2015:

CrystEngComm coverPolymorphism
Guest Editors: Professors T.N. Guru Row (Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore) and Ashwini Nangia (University of Hyderabad) 
Deadline: 1st January 2015

Single-Crystal-to-Single-Crystal Transformations
Guest Editors: Professors Parimal K. Bharadwaj (Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur) and Panče Naumov (New York University Abu Dhabi)
Deadline: 6th January 2015

Does your research fit into either of these subject areas? If so, we would welcome your contribution. For further details on issue scopes and on how to submit, see below:

How to submit

All types of manuscript – communications, full papers and Highlights, will be considered for publication. The manuscript should be prepared according to our article guidelines and submitted via our online system.

All manuscripts will be subject to normal peer review and inclusion in the themed issue will be at the discretion of the Guest Editors. Please indicate in your submission which themed issue you would like to be considered for.

Issue scopes

Polymorphism
This issue will focus on the contemporary theme of polymorphism in all its manifestations and applications. It will cover the fundamental understanding of crystal nucleation and growth, energies of polymorphs and their phase transformations, polymorphism in non-ambient conditions, novel polymorphs induced by additives and hetero-nuclei, and polymorphs resulting from spatial confinement.

Single-Crystal-to-Single-Crystal Transformations
This issue will focus on processes where the long-range structures of single crystals are retained. This includes, but is not restricted to: photochemical reactions, solid-solid reactions, solid-gas reactions and phase transitions.

Research relating to the effect of structural properties - including molecular and supramolecular structure, size effects and others – on the conservation of long-range order from the macroscale to the nanoscale, is also within the focus, as are discussions on systems where long range order is lost. The contributions will span a broad range of subjects across chemistry, materials science, and physics.

Are you interested in contributing? If so, submit your manuscript(s) before the themed issue deadline(s)

 

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July’s HOT articles

Here is July’s batch of HOT articles – remember, these are free to access for 4 weeks only!

Our HOT articles have also been compiled into a collection and are available for viewing on our website.

Water crystallization to create ice spacers between graphene oxide sheets for highly electroactive graphene paper
Kunfeng Chen, Fei Liu, Shuyan Song and Dongfeng Xue
CrystEngComm, 2014, 16, 7771-7776
DOI: 10.1039/C4CE01030B

Graphical Abstract

Free to access until 20th August 2014


Efficient solvent-controlled crystallization of pure polymorphs of 1-nitro-4-(4-nitrophenylmethylthio)benzene
Chong-Qing Wan, Ai-Min Li, Shaeel A. Al-Thabaiti, El-Sayed H. El-Mosslamy and Thomas C. W. Mak
CrystEngComm, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CE00753K

Graphical Abstract

Free to access until 13th August 2014


Synthesis of Cu2−xS nanocrystals induced by foreign metal ions: phase and morphology transformation and localized surface plasmon resonance
Haihang Ye, Aiwei Tang, Chunhe Yang, Kai Li, Yanbing Hou and   Feng Teng
CrystEngComm, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CE00945B

Graphical Abstract

Free to access until 13th August 2014


Orthogonal H-bonding synthons, actual and virtual structures in molecular crystals: a case study
Roberto Centore, Mauro Causà, Francesca Cerciello, Fabio Capone and Sandra Fusco
CrystEngComm, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CE00956H

Graphical Abstract

Free to access until 7th August 2014


Evolution of ZnO microstructures from hexagonal disk to prismoid, prism and pyramid and their crystal facet-dependent gas sensing properties
Nan Qin, Qun Xiang, Hongbin Zhao, Jincang Zhang and Jiaqiang Xu
CrystEngComm, 2014, 16, 7062-7073
DOI: 10.1039/C4CE00637B

Graphical Abstract

Free to access until 4th August 2014


Bulk growth and nonlinear optical properties of thulium calcium oxyborate single crystals
Yanqing Liu, Fapeng Yu, Zhengping Wang, Shuai Hou, Lei Yang, Xinguang Xu and Xian Zhao
CrystEngComm, 2014, 16, 7141-7148
DOI: 10.1039/C4CE00869C   

Graphical Abstract

Free to access until 4th August 2014


 

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Facet control in ZnO gas sensors

Zinc oxide (ZnO) is an important semiconductor material which can be used for gas sensing.  The sensing property relies on an oxidation-reduction reaction on the ZnO surface between the detected gas and surface oxygen molecules which causes the resistance of the sensor to change.  The nature of exposed facets on the sensor is crucial to its performance however, control of the growth, number, and morphology of these features has so far proved difficult.

In their recent paper in CrystEngComm, Xiang, Xu and co-workers report a simple synthesis of ZnO which allows for exposed facet control.  They discovered a two-step hydrothermal synthesis does not require use of any templates or surfactants but achieves structure control simply by adjusting pH.  In this way, hexagonal-pyramids, -prisms, -prismoids and -disks could be formed (see below)/

Facet control in zinc oxide

The authors tested the materials for gaseous ethanol sensing and the sensitivity was found to vary in the order disks > prismoids > prisms > pyramids.  They showed that the sensitivity of the sensors increased with exposure of (0001) crystal planes as these polar facets can provide more active sites for oxygen absorption than other facets, increasing the gas sensor response.   Their new findings are significant for the future development of high performance gas sensors.

For more information, read the full paper:

Evolution of ZnO microstructures from hexagonal disk to prismoid, prism and pyramid and their crystal facet-dependent gas sensing properties
Nan Qin, Qun Xiang, Hongbin Zhao, Jincang Zhang and Jiaqiang Xu
CrystEngComm, 2014, DOI: 10.1039/C4CE00637B

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Gwenda KydGwenda Kyd has a PhD in metallocarborane chemistry from the University of Edinburgh. Other research work includes the spectroscopic study of the structure of glasses and organometallic electron-transfer reactions and the preparation of new inorganic phosphors. She has recently published a book on chemicals from plants.

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Nanocomposite lithium ion batteries

Cheap and effective storage of renewable energy is a key challenge for consumers in the future. Lithium ion batteries (LIBs) are one class of materials that meet the important requirements of high energy density, low cost, good power capacity and efficient cycling.

Recent research on LIB materials has focused on maximising their favourable properties to bring them closer to commerical use.

A new paper by Jun Liu and co-workers (Central South University, Changsha, China) describes the preparation and testing of a new anode material based on MoO3 and graphene oxide (GO). The former material is naturally abundant, has good chemical stability and a high storage capability but also exhibits poor conductivity and lithium ion diffusion. GO has good conductivity, a large surface area and is highly stable, making it an attractive material for composite material formation.  

The authors prepared the new material by first synthesising GO and α-MoO3 nanoribbons before modifying the surface of the latter to produce a positive charge. This allowed the MoO3 material to assemble onto the GO.  They then applied heat to form the product, α-MoO3@GNS (GNS refers to graphene nanosheet), and fabricated the material to form an anode.

 graphene encapsulated molybdenum trioxide for LIBs

These robust nanocomposites exhibit greatly enhanced Li transport efficiency compared to other MoO3-based materials, as well as high electrical conductivity and good cycling efficiency.

The authors concluded that the two components work synergistically to produce the observed properties and suggested the composite as a potential anode material for high performance LIBs.

 To find out more, read the full article:

Graphene nanosheets encapsulated α-MoO3 nanoribbons with ultrahigh lithium ion storage properties
Pei-Jie Lu, Ming Lei and Jun Liu
CrystEngComm, 2014, DOI: 10.1039/C4CE00252K


Gwenda KydGwenda Kyd has a PhD in metallocarborane chemistry from the University of Edinburgh. Other research work includes the spectroscopic study of the structure of glasses and organometallic electron-transfer reactions and the preparation of new inorganic phosphors.  She has recently published a book on chemicals from plants.

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Report from FD170 Mechanochemistry

Posted on behalf of Elizabeth Woodhouse, Publishing Editor

I recently attended Faraday Conference 170 held at McGill University, Montreal, Canada from 21st – 23rd May 2014. The program was chaired by Tomislav Friscic (McGill University) and covered all aspects of mechanochemistry with the aim of bringing together experts in milling mechanochemistry and sonochemistry, organic synthesis, metal-organic and inorganic materials chemistry, physical chemistry, pharmaceutical scientists and green chemistry.

MontrealFD170 stand

LEFT: A slightly cloudy Montreal skyline. RIGHT: Ready for registration

William Jones (University of Cambridge) opened the conference with an introductory lecture and the discussions began with talks from Leonard MacGillvray (University of Iowa), Graeme Day (University of Southampton) and Tamara Hamilton (Barry University) on the subjects of mechanochemistry of organic molecules, soft materials and pharmaceuticals.

The second day featured discussions on the mechanochemistry of inorganic compounds and coordination-based materials, with Audrey Moores (McGill University) discussing her research on the solvent-free synthesis of biomass-stabilzed gold nanoparticles. The afternoon session focussed on the mechanistic understanding, use in catalysis and scale-up of mechanochemistry and included a discussion led by Achim Stolle (Friedrich-Schiller University) on the scale-up of organic reactions in ball mills.

 

Loving Cup ceremonyGurpaul Kochhar receiving the RSC Skinner prize

LEFT: The Loving Cup ceremony RIGHT: Gurpaul Kochhar receiving the RSC Skinner prize from Professor Peter Skabara with Dr Tomislav Friscic, co-chair of the organising commitee

The conference dinner included the poster prize giving and the Loving Cup ceremony – a Faraday tradition! Gurpaul Kochhar was presented the RSC Skinner prize for his poster on ‘Predicting reaction barriers under mechanochemical conditions’ Congratulations Gurpaul!

The final day of the conference covered discussions on sonication and macromolecular mechanochemistry and the conference closed with concluding remarks given by Kenneth Suslick (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). The next Faraday Conference is FD171: Emerging Photon Technologies for Chemical Dynamics and will be held on the 9th-11th July in Sheffield.

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HOT articles in June

Take a look at our HOT articles for the month of June and let us know your thoughts below. Remember, these are free to access for four weeks!

Crystal growth, transport phenomena and two-gap superconductivity in the mixed alkali metal (K1−zNaz)xFe2−ySe2 iron selenide
Maria Roslova, Svetoslav Kuzmichev, Tatiana Kuzmicheva, Yevgeny Ovchenkov, Min Liu, Igor Morozov, Aleksandr Boltalin, Andrey Shevelkov, Dmitry Chareev and Alexander Vasiliev
CrystEngComm, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C3CE42664E

Graphical Abstract

Free to access until 30th July 2014


Coordination assembly of Borromean structures
Mei Pan and Cheng-Yong Su
CrystEngComm, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CE00616J

Graphical Abstract

Free to access until 30th July 2014


Weak hydrogen and dihydrogen bonds instead of strong N–HO bonds of a tricyclic [1,2,4,5]-tetrazine derivative. Single-crystal X-ray diffraction, theoretical calculations and Hirshfeld surface analysis
Magdalena Owczarek, Irena Majerz and Ryszard Jakubas
CrystEngComm, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CE00571F

 

Graphical Abstract

Free to access until 15th July 2014


Electroactive tetrathiafulvalene based pyridine-mono and -bis(1,2,3-triazoles) click ligands: synthesis, crystal structures and coordination chemistry
Thomas Biet and Narcis Avarvari
CrystEngComm, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CE00736K

 

Graphical Abstract

Free to access until 15th July 2014


A novel azobenzene covalent organic framework
Jian Zhang, Laibing Wang, Na Li, Jiangfei Liu, Wei Zhang, Zhengbiao Zhang, Nianchen Zhou and Xiulin Zhu
CrystEngComm, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CE00369A

 

Graphical Abstract

Free to access until 15th July 2014


The direct growth of a WO3 nanosheet array on a transparent conducting substrate for highly efficient electrochromic and electrocatalytic applications
Guo-fa Cai, Jiang-ping Tu, Ding Zhou, Lu Li, Jia-heng Zhang, Xiu-li Wang and Chang-dong Gu
CrystEngComm, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CE00404C

 

Graphical Abstract

Free to access until 15th July 2014


How to print a crystal structure model in 3D
Teng-Hao Chen, Semin Lee, Amar H. Flood and Ognjen Š. Miljanić
CrystEngComm, 2014, 16, 5488-5493
DOI: 10.1039/C4CE00371C 

Graphical Abstract

Free to access until 8th July 2014


Solid phase microextraction (SPME) combined with TGA as a technique for guest analysis in crystal engineering
Matthew J. Fischer and Alicia M. Beatty
CrystEngComm, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CE00419A  

Graphical Abstract

Free to access until 8th July 2014


Li2CO3 thin films fabricated by sputtering techniques: the role of temperature on their properties
Lander Rojo, Irene Castro-Hurtado, María C. Morant-Miñana, Gemma G. Mandayo and Enrique Castaño
CrystEngComm, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CE00476K 

Graphical Abstract

Free to access until 8th July 2014


Glycine homopeptides: the effect of the chain length on the crystal structure and solid state reactivity
Aaron J. Smith, Farukh I. Ali and Dmitriy V. Soldatov
CrystEngComm, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CE00630E

Graphical Abstract

Free to access until 8th July 2014


A study of the step-flow growth of the PVT-grown AlN crystals by a multi-scale modeling method
Wei Guo, Julia Kundin, Matthias Bickermann and Heike Emmerich
CrystEngComm, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CE00175C

Graphical Abstract

Free to access until 8th July 2014


Synthesis of ferromagnetic cobalt nanoparticle tipped CdSe@CdS nanorods: critical role of Pt-activation
Lawrence J. Hill, Nathaniel E. Richey, Younghun Sung, Philip T. Dirlam, Jared J. Griebel, In-Bo Shim, Nicola Pinna, Marc-Georg Willinger, Walter Vogel, Kookheon Char and Jeffrey Pyun
CrystEngComm, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CE00680A

Graphical Abstract

Free to access until 8th July 2014

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Formation of kidney stones

Human kidney stones contain over 200 components, most significantly, anhydrous uric acid (UA, below) and its dihydrate (UAD).  When UAD is present, UA is also, however the reverse isn’t always true. This  suggests the conversion of UAD to UA may be a significant step in the formation of kidney stones.  A deeper understanding of how the stones form could inform strategies to prevent their formation and to disperse them once formed.

uric acid

A new paper in CrystEngComm looks at the relationship between UAD and UA under physiologically relevant conditions.  The authors studied the behaviour of UAD in aqueous solution at body temperature (37oC), both at various pHs in the presence of a buffer and in an artificial urine solution. In aqueous solution at acidic pH values, the conversion of UAD occured via a slow dissolution, followed by recrystallization, to form UA over 42 hours. At neutral pH, the final product formed was uric acid monohydrate (UAM), which was obtained either directly or via a UA intermediate. In urine solution, UA formation was much faster (complete in 30 hours) and crystals were much smaller.

The rate limiting step is believed to be the dissolution of UAD, with the timescale of the UA formation explaining why UAD is rarely found in the absence of UA.  Future studies will look at how other urinary components and/or additives can affect UA formation.

For more information, see the full paper:

Solution-mediated phase transformation of uric acid dihydrate
Janeth B. Presores and Jennifer A. Swift
CrystEngComm, 2014, DOI: 10.1039/C4CE00574K

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Gwenda KydGwenda Kyd has a PhD in metallocarborane chemistry from the University of Edinburgh. Other research work includes the spectroscopic study of the structure of glasses and organometallic electron-transfer reactions and the preparation of new inorganic phosphors.  She has recently published a book on chemicals from plants.

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