US Regional Meetings on Protein Crystallography

Highlights of the 13th West Coast Protein Crystallography Workshop (300 attendees, March 1997, CA) included structures of thyroid hormone erythroporetin, T-cell and interferon receptor complexes, satellite tobacco mosaic virus at 1.8 Å resolution from space-grown crystals (S. Larson), the Ras binding domain of RalGDS, the first structure of a mitochondrial single stranded DNA binding protein (C. Yang) and the human bacteriacidal/permeability-increasing protein that consists almost entirely of β-sheets (L. Beamer).

Ehmke Pohl
ACA Newsletter, Summer 1997

Two hundred scientists at the Structural Biology Symposium (April 1997, TX) discussed macromolecular determination and recognition, computational methods, and protein design. L. Beese (Duke U. Medical Center), presented a "high resolution snapshot of a polymerase in action", DNA replication by a thermophilic DNA polymerase within the crystal lattice. I. Kuntz demonstracted DOCK 4.0 (DOCK BUILDERS can be downloaded from the Internet) which "docks" one molecule to another using a simple graphics matching algorithm, and "BUILDER" with which a small molecule can be built within an active site. Crystal structures of proteins at <1Å resolution were reported by K. Krause (U. of Houston).

Catherine H. Schein
ACA Newsletter, Summer 1997
David R. Davies

A Symposium was held in Honor of David R. Davies' 70th Birthday, (April1997) at NIH featured talks on lysozyme as a model system for examining protein stability and folding (B. Matthews), Z-DNA and mRNA editing (A. Rich), pathogenetic mechanisms in plasmacytoma development (M. Potter), the tryptophan synthase complex (E. Miles), and Trimeric G proteins: Structure, mechanism and regulation (P. Sigler). M. Perutz closed the symposium with a discussion of the early days of crystallography and his work on hemoglobin. Summaries and photographs of the symposium are at

Susan Chacko
ACA Newsletter, Summer 1997

The 27th Mid-Atlantic Protein Crystallography Meeting (May 1997, VA) attracted 151 registrants. M. Word (Duke U.) presented results of packing analysis in high resolution protein crystal structures, facilitated by new software developed at Duke. The approach involves van der Waals contact analysis only after calculated positions of hydrogen atoms are included. Several errors in high resolution determination were identified, many including Asn and Gln residues. Parallel workshops focused on data collection and refinement. G. Sheldrick described meaningful anisotropic refinement with SHELX97 ( using data to 1.5 Å or higher. The free R factor should decrease at least by 1% to validate the calculation, the results should be chemically meaningful and main chain carbonyl oxygens should vibrate perpendicular to the peptide plane. E. Dodson described the use of REFMAC, the maximum likelihood refinement package that is now a part of the CCP4 suite (you can ftp the new suite from J. Navaza discussed new ideas that are being implemented in AMORE, the Molecular Replacement suite that has solved many problems that have aged in the depths of our drawers. Other highlights of the meeting included a workshop on "Cryo-crystallography and Data Collection" and Z. Otwinowski presented a lecture on data collection and reduction, centering around an exposition on the use of the DENZO/SCALEPACK software package. Many of the meeting's sixteen sponsors exhibited their products during the meeting.

Zygmunt Derewenda and Michael Wiener
ACA Newsletter, Summer 1997