We will address our recent studies on the nucleation of protein crystals and the
characterization of the pre-nucleation phases. 1,2 Nucleation and formation of ordered and
amorphous aggregates underlies a wide range of human disorders including
neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases. Aggregation of the low complexity domain
of the protein hnRNPA2 involved in Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). 3 This intrinsically
disordered protein is prone to liquid-liquid phase separation and forms metastable protein-
rich phases that precede and facilitate the formation of aggregates.
In the second part we will elaborate on the effect of flow on crystallization. Both theory 4 and
experiments 5 have indicated that flow affects the nucleation rate, the size of the emerging
phase and polymorphism. Firstly, to enable detailed quantitative studies on the influence of
shear flow on nucleation and growth, we have developed a new microfluidic setup that
creates a controlled constant shear flow profile in a solution. Our experimental results are
complemented by kinetic Monte Carlo simulations. Secondly, bulk acoustic waves offer the
possibility to quickly mix two liquid streams and to manipulate particles in microfluidic
channels. Crystals were grown in the presence of an acoustic field. Once a desired size was
reached the crystals focus rapidly on the pressure node offering the possibility to obtain
crystals with a narrow size distribution. The latter is particularly interesting for the formulation
of medication.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference Brochure
Number of pages2
Publication statusUnpublished - 30 Oct 2018
Event17th International Conference on Crystallization of biological Macromolecules - Shanghai, China
Duration: 30 Oct 20182 Nov 2018
Conference number: 17


Conference17th International Conference on Crystallization of biological Macromolecules
Abbreviated titleICCBM

ID: 40169459