Macromolecular Crystallography is Very Much Alive

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  • Published: 27 December 2014
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
  • Source / Publisher: FEBS Journal/Federation of European Biochemical Societies
thumbnail image: Macromolecular Crystallography is Very Much Alive

Mariusz Jaskolski, Adam Mickiewicz University and Polish Academy of Sciences, Poznan, Poland, and Alex Wlodawer, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, MD, USA, have been closely collaborating for many years. They both proudly call themselves crystallographers, even if, as they say, "such a designation might currently not be the most politically correct".

Mariusz Jaskolski has worked on all aspects of small-molecule and macromolecular crystallography. Alex Wlodawer has contributed to the development of technical aspects of structural biology, such as the use of neutron and synchrotron radiation for proteins, as well as to structural elucidation of several headline macromolecules. Their collaborative projects included structural characterization of retroviral proteases and integrases or anticancer proteins such as L-asparaginase. They have also been promoting education and understanding of crystallography through a series of didactic reviews.

For the International Year of Crystallography (IYCr2014), they have edited a special issue to celebrate crystallography. The articles they selected clearly show that macromolecular crystallography is very much alive and still a vibrant and evolving discipline.
And also its the future looks promising: Jaskolski and Wlodawer predict: “With brightness that makes our Sun look frighteningly pale, these sources [powerful X-ray beams] will ultimately allow us to get rid of the final constraint: of the crystal. ... Thus we are looking into crystallography without crystals, at nanometer scale and in femtosecond time. But the principle of diffraction holds, and the goal is still the same: to understand the processes of life through the elucidation of the atomic structure of matter, even when it is transient, dynamic or otherwise delicate."

More on the International Year of Crystallography (IYCR 2014)

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