All Publications

  • Effects of Ionic Liquids as Additives on Protein Crystallization Advanced Methods in Structural Biology Tarver, C. L., Pusey, M. L. 2023: 187-197
  • Ionic Liquids as Protein Crystallization Additives. Crystals Tarver, C. L., Yuan, Q., Pusey, M. L. 2021; 11 (10)


    Among its attributes, the mythical philosopher's stone is supposedly capable of turning base metals to gold or silver. In an analogous fashion, we are finding that protein crystallization optimization using ionic liquids (ILs) often results in the conversion of base protein precipitate to crystals. Recombinant inorganic pyrophosphatases (8 of the 11 proteins) from pathogenic bacteria as well as several other proteins were tested for optimization by 23 ILs, plus a dH2O control, at IL concentrations of 0.1, 0.2, and 0.4 M. The ILs were used as additives, and all proteins were crystallized in the presence of at least one IL. For 9 of the 11 proteins, precipitation conditions were converted to crystals with at least one IL. The ILs could be ranked in order of effectiveness, and it was found that ~83% of the precipitation-derived crystallization conditions could be obtained with a suite of just eight ILs, with the top two ILs accounting for ~50% of the hits. Structural trends were found in the effectiveness of the ILs, with shorter-alkyl-chain ILs being more effective. The two top ILs, accounting for ~50% of the unique crystallization results, were choline dihydrogen phosphate and 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate. Curiously, however, a butyl group was present on the cation of four of the top eight ILs.

    View details for DOI 10.3390/cryst11101166

    View details for PubMedID 34745654

  • A low-cost method for visible fluorescence imaging. Acta crystallographica. Section F, Structural biology communications Tarver, C. L., Pusey, M. 2017; 73 (Pt 12): 657-663


    A wide variety of crystallization solutions are screened to establish conditions that promote the growth of a diffraction-quality crystal. Screening these conditions requires the assessment of many crystallization plates for the presence of crystals. Automated systems for screening and imaging are very expensive. A simple approach to imaging trace fluorescently labeled protein crystals in crystallization plates has been devised, and can be implemented at a cost as low as $50. The proteins β-lactoglobulin B, trypsin and purified concanavalin A (ConA) were trace fluorescently labeled using three different fluorescent probes: Cascade Yellow (CY), Carboxyrhodamine 6G (CR) and Pacific Blue (PB). A crystallization screening plate was set up using β-lactoglobulin B labeled with CR, trypsin labeled with CY, ConA labeled with each probe, and a mixture consisting of 50% PB-labeled ConA and 50% CR-labeled ConA. The wells of these plates were imaged using a commercially available macro-imaging lens attachment for smart devices that have a camera. Several types of macro lens attachments were tested with smartphones and tablets. Images with the highest quality were obtained with an iPhone 6S and an AUKEY Ora 10× macro lens. Depending upon the fluorescent probe employed and its Stokes shift, a light-emitting diode or a laser diode was used for excitation. An emission filter was used for the imaging of protein crystals labeled with CR and crystals with two-color fluorescence. This approach can also be used with microscopy systems commonly used to observe crystallization plates.

    View details for DOI 10.1107/S2053230X17015941

    View details for PubMedID 29199986

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5713670