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The influence of electric and magnetic fields to increase the crystal quality of proteins

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The simultaneous and non-simultaneous effects of magnetic and electric fields are a new field of research. Depending on the configuration of the system, great advantages can be acquired, such as the homogeneity in crystal size, crystal quality enhancement thanks to apparent suppression of secondary nucleation events that permit the continuous growth of previously formed nuclei. Also, an orientation effect is noticed when the magnetic field is applied to the crystallisation cell. It is worth mentioning that the use of strong magnetic fields is still very expensive to perform in crystallisation experiments. Maintenance of the superconductive magnets and the magnet itself are limiting factors for economic reasons. However, recent work has demonstrated that by applying only a strong magnetic field, coupled with growth-in-gels improves the resolution limit as well as the crystal quality. The combined effects of a magnetic field and magnetic field gradients on convection in crystal growth are presented. More recently a novel technique using a popular magnet usually used for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) commonly used in Chemistry laboratories will be revised as well. Finally, all the basic principles and recent contributions about the use of combined electric/magnetic fields and gels will be presented in this seminar.

This talk is part of the Experimental and Computational Aspects of Structural Biology and Applications to Drug Discovery series.

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