J.A. Gavira

Protein Crystallization & Crystallography


Research Lines

In the Laboratory for the Crystallographic Studies (LEC) we exploit the crystallization under difusion mass transport control regime (gel, capillaries and microgravity) to produce crystal of high quality (OptiCryst »). This line is in continuous development in a search for better implementations and to expand the range of applications.

Biotechnological aplication of protein crystals

One of our major interest is the use of protein/enzymes crystals as auto-supported catalyst and/or sensors.

Reinforced Cross-linked Enzymes Crystals RCLECs »

Crystals grown in gel incorporate 100% of the gel-matrix in the crystals producing a new type of composite materials we called Reinforced Crystals (RCLECs/RCLPCs »).
By choosing the gel nature, i.e. agarose (Gavira & Garcia-Ruiz, 2002), silica (Gavira et al., 2013), PEGs (Gavira et al., 2014) or short-peptides hydrogels (Conejero et al., 2015) and the gel concentration, it is possible to produce a wide range of different materials of tuned composition.

Gels also provide a way to control the nucleation density and crystal shape. Moreover gels facilitate the incorporation of the crosslinker in a diffusion-reaction-system avoiding any osmotic stress.

On-chip crystallization, cross-linking & activity determination

We have developed a microfluidic system that allows the crystallization of enzymes by batch method. After crystals are stabilized (cross-linked) it is possible to carry on the enzymatic reaction within the crystal many times while preserving their activity (Conejero-Muriel et al., 2015). We have also developed a multiple-path photonic-chip for the continuous concentration measurements with minute amounts of the sample (Rodríguez-Ruiz et al., 2015).

More recently both devices were merged to create the OCERs (optofluidic CLEC-based enzymatic reactor), assayed with Lipase as a proof of concept (Conejero-Muriel et al., 2016).

Lysozyme RCLEC
Lysozyme crystal grown in solutin and in gel, agarose or silica, in situ cross-linked with glutaraldehyde.

OCER Lipase
Schematic of the OCER platform and detail of lipase crystals. Image correspond to Fig. 1 of Conejero-Muriel et al., 2016.