Crystallography Made Crystal Clear

Crystallography Made Crystal Clear : A Guide for Users of Macromolecular Models

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Macromolecules are the proteins and nucleic acids upon which life depends. Understanding the action of biological macromolecules (giant molecules) requires detailed knowledge of their structures. Most of the more than ten thousand known structures of protein and nucleic acids were obtained by x-ray crystallography, the standard mechanism for determining protein structure. Essentially, proteins are frozen into rigid crystals, which can be stacked up in a repeating pattern--like supermarket displays. The structure of each individual crystal can be determined by the way x-rays are bent when they pass through the composite crystal. Protein structure is essential when investigating protein interactions and planning drug development. "Crystallography Made Crystal Clear, Second Edition" explains how scientists discover the structures of the macromolecules. Scientists do not see these molecules directly. Instead, they build models as a means of interpreting data from x-ray diffraction by crystals, or by irradiation by other forms of energy. Users of these models need to know how they are obtained in order to know what they are seeing when they study a model of a macromolecule.
They also need to know how to judge whether conclusions they draw from the molecular models are really supported by the models. This book uses visual and geometric models to help readers understand the mathematics that forms the basis of x-ray crystallography. The field of protein crystallography is growing every day and has been instrumental in discovering the molecular principles of biology and in discovering new drugs, such as the recent protease inhibitors for AIDS. The field includes the largest percentage of Nobel prizes than any other scientific discipline. Every major university and drug company has a protein crystallography laboratory and this book is an invaluable aid to those wishing to practice protein crystallography or just learn more about how it is actually done. It provides clear, understandable descriptions of principles of X-ray crystallography. It leads reader through unintimidating and thorough explanations of the underlying mathematics. It provides abundant illustrations, including diagrams, charts, photographs, color stereo, and images. It explains how to read crystallography papers in research journals.
It includes brief descriptions of other diffraction methods (neutron, electron, Laue) and the kinds. It is of structural information they can provide. It introduces other methods of macromolecular structure determination (NMR spectroscopy and homology modeling), and provides guidance in judging the quality of these models.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 286 pages
  • 151.6 x 227.8 x 14.2mm | 343.38g
  • Academic Press Inc
  • San Diego, United States
  • English
  • Revised
  • 2nd Revised edition
  • Ill.
  • 0125870728
  • 9780125870726

Review quote

Praise For the First Edition "This terse, well-written book lives up to its title in great measure, and, in my opinion is now the best reference for noncrystallographers who want to know more about X-ray diffraction and the data that result from it. The author uses a clear and logical style to describe nearly every aspect of the X-ray diffraction experiment, and enough mathematics is given to afford readers a relatively sophisticated understanding of the subject." --AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSIOLOGY "This excellent book is primarily aimed as researchers involved in molecular modelling who wish to improve their understanding of how crystal structures of proteins are obtained and how to assess their accuracy... Although this book is intended for non-specialists who need to learn something about crystallography and, as such, fills a gap in the current literature, it has much material of value to specialized research students. Had it appeared ten years ago, learning the tools of this trade would have been easier." --TRENDS IN BIOTECHNOLOGY "Rhodes's book will find a much broader audience, however, as it is a well-written and up-to-date introduction... Crystallography is not an easy subject to teach or to learn, and Rhodes provides a comprehensive, yet less intimidating, treatment of the theoretical background, which should be understandable to a novice. The author assumes little mathematical knowledge and explains the physical significance of all equations. A most helpful feature is the use of a published structure report as an example of understanding and interpreting a macromolecular crystal structure determination, frequently the most difficult part for noncrystallographers. Highly recommended as a supplement to standard biochemistry works and as an introduction to the field for students learning crystallography." --CHOICE "Crystallography Made Crystal Clear bridges the gap between brief chapters and textbooks in biochemistry and proteins and complete treatments aimed at the professional crystallographer... Much of the book reads like a transcript of discussions between a wise and tolerant old crystallographer walking a novice through his/her first structure determination. All of the problems one encounters, from recognizing twinned crystals and visualizing the geometry of a precession camera, through identifying heavy atom binding sites from Patterson maps, to fitting electron density maps and refining the structure are dealt with patiently and creatively. Although all of the standard derivations are here, the text has a light touch which both novices and noncrystallographers will appreciate... The thirteen color plates are excellent... Given the brevity of the text, it is remarkably complete... This book will be useful in many contexts - in elementary courses in crystallography, in biochemistry courses as an auxiliary text, in crystallographic laboratories as a handbook for novices, and in molecular biology laboratories as an introduction to the Protein Data Base and molecular graphics. It can be perused in an afternoon which will be well spent." --BIOPHYSICAL JOURNAL "... I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in macromolecules and how their structures are solved. The material is well presented and easy to read and would provide a good starting point for an undergraduate considering going into the field. It also provides sufficient information to be used as a text in a course on biophysical techniques." --BIOCHEMICAL EDUCATION "Anyone interested in how protein structures are determined should find reading it an enjoyable and satisfying experience... Crystallography Made Crystal Clear is clearly written, accurate, and easy to read. The author chose one of the most interesting topics in x-ray crystallography to examine, namely, the structure determination of proteins. Consequently the book can be recommended not only to the biochemists and biologists for whom it was written, but to all those who are curious." --APPLIED OPTICS "[A] successful introduction for those who try to understand and explore biological macromolecular structures... The text is loaded with many excellent didactic concepts and approaches." --ACTA CRYST
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Table of contents

Model and Molecule. An Overview of Protein Crystallography. Protein Crystals. Collecting Diffraction Data. From Diffraction Data to Electron Density. Obtaining Phases. Obtaining and Judging the Molecular Model. A User's Guide to Crystallographic Models. Other Diffraction Methods. Other Kinds of Macromolecular Models. Tools for Studying Macromolecules.
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About Gale Rhodes

Gale Rhodes earned a B.S. in applied mathematics at North Carolina State University, and then a Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of North Carolina. He is currently a professor of chemistry at the University of Southern Maine, Portland. His main duty, and first love, is teaching undergraduate biochemistry. He has received awards for outstanding teaching at three different colleges. His best known publication is the first edition of Crystallography Made Crystal Clear, which received very complimentary reviews in several journals. He has also published three book chapters, three book reviews, and about 30 articles on diverse subjects, including research articles in biochemistry, and articles on chemistry, science, and interdisciplinary education.
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