The detection and subsequent volume optimization of biological nanocrystals

Struct Dyn. 2015 May 15;2(4):041710. doi: 10.1063/1.4921199. eCollection 2015 Jul.


Identifying and then optimizing initial crystallization conditions is a prerequisite for macromolecular structure determination by crystallography. Improved technologies enable data collection on crystals that are difficult if not impossible to detect using visible imaging. The application of second-order nonlinear imaging of chiral crystals and ultraviolet two-photon excited fluorescence detection is shown to be applicable in a high-throughput manner to rapidly verify the presence of nanocrystals in crystallization screening conditions. It is noted that the nanocrystals are rarely seen without also producing microcrystals from other chemical conditions. A crystal volume optimization method is described and associated with a phase diagram for crystallization.