METHODS FOR STRUCTURAL BIOLOGY
Modern research in the mechanisms underlying biological processes makes widespread
use of structural information of many molecules, like DNA, ribosomes, proteins, etc.
Many methodologies can be used (and are used) to extract such structural information.
Most of my research in the development of methods for structural biology is centred
Crystallography is widely, and unjustly, known to be a research
subject dealing with minerals, crystals and, more generally, all matter
in the solid state. This is actually a misconception. Although Crystallography
was born in the eighteenth century as a subject to explain the properties of
certain kind of materials, during the nineteenth and twentieth century it
went through a tremendous expansion, expecially thanks to X-ray
diffraction. In modern times Crystallography is applied to fields
as diverse as Biology, Forensic Studies and Mineralogy.
In this page I have collected a few Crystallography topics I have actively researched.
- Some technical details on Molecular Replacement
- One of the most used techniques to solve a protein structure, using data from x-ray diffraction
of crystals, is the molecular replacement. This technique has been explained over and over
again in several papers, books, workshops and conferences. Modern implementations of molecular
replacement utilise the fast rotation function, first introduced by Tony Crowther in 1972.
It is very difficult to get hold of a copy of the original Crowther's article. Two good reviews of
his treatment are  and . I have tried to explain
Crowther's idea and to introduce and expand all calculations in
- One of my latest research projects concerns the handling and processing of multiple data sets
from multiple crystals. The main product of my investigations is BLEND , a computer program
I have developed in collaboration with
Gwyndaf Evans at MPL.
BLEND is distributed within the CCP4 suite of programs for computational crystallography.
BLEND documentation (on CCP4 website)
BLEND tutorials (on CCP4 website)
BLEND documentation (on this website)
BLEND tutorials (on this website)
BLEND tutorial for the 2015 joint MPL-DIAMOND industry symposium on membrane proteins
Dodson, E. J. (1985). Proceedings of the CCP4 Study Weekend. Molecular Replacement,
pp 33-45. Warrington: Daresbury Laboratory.
Giacovazzo, C. (1998). Direct Phasing in Crystallography, pp 645-651. Oxford University Press.
J. Foadi, P. Aller, Y. Alguel, A. Cameron, D. Axford, R.L. Owen, W. Armour, D. Waterman, S. Iwata and G. Evans (2013)
Clustering procedures for the optimal selection of data sets from multiple crystals in macromolecular crystallography
Acta Cryst., D69, 1617–1632
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