The determination of 3-D protein structure has historically been a tedious and costly task. During the 80's and 90's, new methods were developed for parallel expression and cleanup to shorten the production process of proteins. Further advances have allowed the running of parallel experiments for the characterisation and analysis of protein crystal structure.
Screening for the optimum crystallisation conditions is well documented and has been automated on pipetting robots, however, in order to use only small amounts of protein and yet run a large number of crystallisation processes, novel technologies needed to be employed.
Zinsser Analytic GmbH, with headquarters in Germany, manufactures systems and tools for Drug Discovery, Liquid Handling, Powder Handling, Automated Weighing, and Organic Synthesis that provide innovative laboratory solutions for modern drug discovery, material science and combinatorial chemistry.
Zinsser Analytic has developed the CRISSY®, an automated liquid and powder handling platform, as a solution for the tedious and time-consuming process of polymorph screening.
Automating the crystallisation is not only time-saving but it increases the quantity of salts being crystallised and minimises the risk of destroying the crystal structure when presenting it to the x-ray. The reliability of the instrument means that the process can be run in an uninterrupted manner and the controlled liquid handling, heating and cooling cycles ensure reproducible and consistent results.
This software not only calculates the required volumes for a given target concentration but it also optimises the entire dispensing process to save time. To prepare the crystallisation plates, a low-volume dispenser with a separate protein channel has been integrated. The buffer solutions are transferred from the deepwell plate to the crystallisation plate in one step with a special 96-well dispensing head. The protein is added through the separate protein channel using the SynQuad technology for non-contact dispensing.
Finally, the plates are sealed on the integrated plate sealer which seals the deepwell plates as well as the crystallisation plates.