Analysis of solvent content and oligomeric states in protein crystals - Does symmetry matter?

Maksymilian Chruszcz, Wojciech Potrzebowski, Matthew D. Zimmerman, Marek Grabowski, Heping Zheng, Piotr Lasota, Wladek Minor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


A nonredundant set of 9081 protein crystal structures in the Protein Data Bank was used to examine the solvent content, the number of polypeptide chains, and the oligomeric states of proteins in crystals as a function of crystal symmetry (as classified by crystal systems and space groups). It was found that there is a correlation between solvent content and crystal symmetry. Surprisingly, proteins crystallizing in lower symmetry systems have lower solvent content compared to those crystallizing in higher symmetry systems. Nevertheless, there is no universal correlation between solvent content and preferences of macromolecules to crystallize in certain space groups. Crystal symmetry as a function of oligomeric state was examined, where trimers, tetramers, and hexamers were found to prefer to crystallize in systems where the oligomer symmetry could be incorporated in the crystal symmetry. Our analysis also shows that the frequency distribution within the enantiomorphous pairs of space groups does not differ significantly, in contrast to previous reports. Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-632
Number of pages10
JournalProtein Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Matthews coefficient
  • Oligomerization
  • Protein crystals
  • Solvent content
  • Space group frequency


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