A protein crystallisation screening kit designed using polyethylene glycol as major precipitant†
Crystallisation of proteins is usually achieved with the help of chemical agents. Because there are few general guidelines in determining what agents will help to crystallise a specific protein, suitable crystallisation agents are often found via exhaustive trial-and-error tests by mixing many chemical agents (the collection of which is called a crystallisation screening kit) one-by-one with the protein. Currently, many commercially available crystallisation screening kits have been developed and utilised in practical crystallisation screen experiments. However, information regarding the design of new screening kits has yet to be expanded using a large amount of experimental data. Here, we show the step-by-step design processes of a polyethylene glycol-based screening kit. It was found that the screening performance could be improved by modifying the crystallisation screening kits according to the accumulated data (such as those in the Biological Macromolecule Crystallisation Database (BMCD)), the screening test results and existing knowledge. The screening kit designed in this paper can be used for practical protein crystallisation screen experiments and the method can be used in the design of other crystallisation screening kits.