Seven quick tips for beginners in protein crystallography
The aim of this brief review is to provide a roadmap for beginning crystallographers who have little or no experience in structural biology and yet are keen to produce protein crystals and analyze their 3D structures to understand their biological roles. To achieve this goal it is crucial to perform crystallization, structure determination, visualization and analysis of the protein’s structural features related to its biological function. Keeping that objective in mind, tips presented herein cover the most important steps in a crystallographic endeavor and present a selection of databases and software which can aid and accelerate the whole process. We hope that this short overview will help novices coming from different disciplines to navigate a protein crystallography project and, hopefully, allow avoiding some costly mistakes, even though being a crystallographer means learning by trial and error.
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