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Heavy-atom derivatization is one of the oldest techniques for obtaining phase information for protein crystals and, although it is no longer the first choice, it remains a useful technique for obtaining phases for unknown structures and for low-resolution data sets. It is also valuable for confirming the chain trace in low-resolution electron-density maps. This overview provides a summary of the technique and is aimed at first-time users of the method. It includes guidelines on when to use it, which heavy atoms are most likely to work, how to prepare heavy-atom solutions, how to derivatize crystals and how to determine whether a crystal is in fact a derivative.

Original publication

DOI

10.1107/S2059798316000401

Type

Journal article

Journal

Acta Crystallogr D Struct Biol

Publication Date

03/2016

Volume

72

Pages

303 - 318

Keywords

crystallography, derivatization of crystals, heavy atoms, phasing techniques, protein crystals, Animals, Bromine, Crystallography, X-Ray, Humans, Iodine, Metals, Heavy, Methionine, Noble Gases, Protein Conformation, Proteins, Selenomethionine