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Crystallization and preliminary crystallographic investigation of a low-pH native insulin monomer with flexible behaviour

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Publication details

JournalActa crystallographica section d-Biological crystallography
DatePublished - Jan 2002
Number of pages2
Pages (from-to)186-187
Original languageEnglish


Insulin naturally aggregates as dimers and hexamers, whose structures have been extensively analysed by X-ray crystallography. Structural determination of the physiologically relevant insulin monomer, however, is an unusual challenge owing to the difficulty in finding solution conditions in which the concentration of insulin is high enough for crystallization yet the molecule remains monomeric. By utilizing solution conditions known to inhibit insulin assembly, namely 20% acetic acid, crystals of insulin in the monomeric state have been obtained. The crystals are strongly diffracting and a data set extending to 1.6 Angstrom has recently been collected. The crystals nominally belong to the space group I422, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 57.80, c = 54.61 Angstrom, giving rise to one molecule in the asymmetric unit. Preliminary electron-density maps show that whilst most of the insulin monomer is well ordered and similar in conformation to other insulin structures, parts of the B-chain C-terminus main chain adopt more than one conformation.

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