The Optical Activity of Lysozyme Crystals

J. Kobayashi*, T. Asahi, M. Sakurai, I. Kagomiya, H. Asai, H. Asami

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The components of the gyration tensor of the enzyme lysozyme were measured by using the HAUP method: g11 = - 0.90 × 10-5 and g33 = 1.05 × 10-5 at 303.4 K and a wavelength of 4880 Å. The optical rotatory powers along the a and c axes in the same conditions were calculated: ρa = -21.3 and ρc. = -24.8° cm-1. The optically active property of lysozyme is strange in that, although it contains a considerable quantity of α-helices (about 30%), the rotatory powers are unexpectedly small in magnitude, one order of magnitude less than those of quartz and with very large anisotropy. A conceptual consideration of this phenomenon is given. In order to assess the difference between the structures in both crystalline and solution states, the chirality index r was calculated to be 0.16. This value indicates that the structural change of lysozyme from the solution into the crystalline state is expressed by an increase of 19% in optical activity. From the NMR results [Smith et al. (1993), J. Mol. Biol. 229, 930-944], it is anticipated that the r value reflects the increased constraint in atomic motion in the side chains of exposed amino acid residues in the crystalline state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-590
Number of pages10
JournalActa Crystallographica Section A: Foundations of Crystallography
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1998 Sept 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology


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