Use of electron microscopy in the examination of lattice defects in crystals of alcohol oxidase

Ida J. Van der Klei, Catherine L. Lawson, Henriëtte Rozeboom, Bauke W. Dijkstra, Marten Veenhuis, Wim Harder, Wim G.J. Hol

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11 Scopus citations


Alcohol oxidase, purified from the yeast Hansenula polymorpha, was crystallized in vitro for the purpose of determining its structure at atomic resolution by X-ray diffraction methods. The crystals obtained yielded only extremely weak diffraction patterns: the maximal resolution observed was in the best case 6 Å. Electron microscopy of thin sections indicated that most crystals showed lattice defects which might explain the poor diffraction patterns: most surprising was the appearance of large holes interrupting an otherwise regular lattice in one of the crystal forms examined. Our results indicate that transmission electron microscopy is a suitable tool for the inspection of crystals to be used in X-ray crystallography. The method allows rapid determination of lattice defects and enables optimization of crystallization conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-216
Number of pages4
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 13 1989
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


  • (Hansenula polymorpha)
  • Alcohol oxidase
  • Protein crystallization
  • Ultrastructure


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