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Barry Silver and Pat Unwin (2008), Protein crystals make it big at electrode surfaces , Chem Comm , 5179 - 5181 Link

This paper describes how it is possible to enable the rapid growth of lysozyme crystals via electrochemical means at the surface of platinum electrodes. The film featured on my front page is representative of this work and we are currently working on other protein systems using similar methods. We plan to follow up this paper with further work to elucidate the exact mechanism behind this effect which at the time of writing is unclear.

Barry Silver, Vilmos Fulop and Pat Unwin (2010), Protein crystallization at oil/water interfaces, New Journal of Chemistry, link

This paper shows how some oil/water interfaces dramatically enhance the extent of lysozyme crystal nucleation and growth ('active interfaces') whilst others do not ('inactive interfaces'). We have attributed this effect to entropy gains via a solvent mediated protein surface dehydration. These results are important, as very recent work has highlighted how aggregation rates of prions/amyloids are affected by 'long lived strings' of water molecules. The results are of additional importance to protein crystallization studies whereby commonly used under oil growth and screening methods are found to occur, in the case of lysozyme at least, on 'inactive interfaces'. Additionally, the paper details how electrified oil/water interfaces may be used to enhance the growth of lysozyme crystals.