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Article Features Asherie's Discovery of New Way to Control Crystallization of Proteins

AsherieAn article on recently featured the work of an undergraduate research team lead by Dr. Neer Asherie, associate professor of physics and biology at Yeshiva University. The team discovered a new way to control the crystallization of proteins so that researchers can use X-ray crystallography to determine the proteins' 3-D structure.

The research team discovered that adding a specific class of small molecules to water solutions of proteins not only induces the proteins to crystallize, but can also control the type of crystal formed.

"Proteins crystals are used to figure out the structure and function of proteins, which is important for understanding certain diseases and for drug development," Asherie said. "However, proteins are difficult to crystallize. At the moment, fewer than one in eight purified proteins produce high-quality crystals. Our research suggests a new way to control protein crystallization and - we hope - increase the success rate of making crystals."