Performing crystallography requires crystals, which are not readily procured in the case of membrane proteins. Part of the problem is the dearth of usable quantities of pure and active membrane proteins. The other problem concerns the production of diffraction-quality crystals. In 2009, Brice Kauffmann, head of the IECB’s Structural Biology Platform, was awarded funding from the CNRS ("Soutien à la prise de risques" program) to develop a new robotic device dedicated to high-throughput crystallization of membrane proteins or lipidic objects using lipidic mesophase. This project, based on previous work from professor Martin Caffrey's group at the university of Limerick, will allow to accurately and reproducibly deliver small volumes (less than 0.5µl) of highly viscous protein/lipid mesophases.
Brice Kauffmann, who started the project in collaboration with Beckman Coulter, would be interested in working with scientists from the interbio community to test the system.
Contact Brice Kauffmann