Effects of additives on surfactant phase behavior relevant to bacteriorhodopsin crystallization

Bryan W. Berger, Colleen M. Gendron, Abraham M. Lenhoff, Eric W. Kaler

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The interactions leading to crystallization of the integral membrane protein bacteriorhodopsin solubilized in n-octyl-β-D-glucoside were investigated. Osmotic second virial coefficients (B22) were measured by self-interaction chromatography using a wide range of additives and precipitants, including polyethylene glycol (PEG) and heptane-1,2,3-triol (HT). In all cases, attractive protein-detergent complex (PDC) interactions were observed near the surfactant cloud point temperature, and there is a correlation between the surfactant cloud point temperatures and PDC B22 values. Light scattering, isothermal titration calorimetry, and tensiometry reveal that although the underlying reasons for the patterns of interaction may be different for various combinations of precipitants and additives, surfactant phase behavior plays an important role in promoting crystallization. In most cases, solution conditions that led to crystallization fell within a similar range of slightly negative B22 values, suggesting that weakly attractive interactions are important as they are for soluble proteins. However, the sensitivity of the cloud point temperatures and resultant coexistence curves varied significantly as a function of precipitant type, which suggests that different types of forces are involved in driving phase separation depending on the precipitant used. Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2682-2696
Number of pages15
JournalProtein Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Cloud point temperature
  • Membrane protein crystallization
  • Osmotic second virial coefficient
  • Protein-detergent complex
  • Self-interaction chromatography


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