MiTeGen LLC, a provider of innovative consumables for X-ray diffraction, crystallography, and protein crystallization for academic, pharmaceutical, industrial, and government research, has launched a unique crystallization microplate made of TOPAS® cyclic olefin copolymer (COC) from TOPAS Advanced Polymers. MiTeGen’s new In-Situ-1TM crystallization plate uses TOPAS COC for its superior moisture vapor resistance and X-ray transparency compared to competitive thermoplastics like polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polystyrene (PS), polyethylene (PE), and polyimide (PI).
“With the help of cyclic olefin copolymers we are pushing the boundaries when it comes to in-situ X-ray analysis,” said Benjamin Apker, director of business development for MiTeGen. “Our new crystallization plate design allows researchers to access another technique, so they can screen protein crystals in-situ compared to the previous plates which required manual crystal harvesting.”
MiTeGen’s In-Situ-1TM crystallization plate (an SBS standard, 96-well microplate) enables X-ray crystallography researchers, who study the atomic-level structures of biological samples, to easily grow and screen crystals of their targets. The advanced features of the low-profile plates, many of which have never before been seen in a crystallization plate, allow for samples to be easily grown with more reproducible conditions, and subsequently studied via X-ray diffraction in situ. This means that researchers can now learn about the inherent quality of their crystal samples without having to manipulate or manually retrieve them, which can often cause undesired changes or damage to the samples.
TOPAS COC’s versatility and advanced processability enables MiTeGen to combine an injection molded COC frame with a thin extruded COC film to generate a two-piece system with the performance benefits of both parts. The molded rigid frame (128-mm by 85-mm) allows for physical features such as ledges and channels that provide consistent results from experiment to experiment. The thin (100-micron thick) film bottom which is ultrasonically welded to the rigid frame, provides a surface for crystal growth drops to be dispensed and easily analyzed over a broad spectrum from visible light to X-rays.
The high-flow characteristics of TOPAS COC enable extensive detail to be designed into the In-Situ-1TM crystallization plate. Well counts are maximized, flow channels are incorporated, and analyses are optimized. Due to its ultra-high purity, TOPAS COC also has lower leachables and extractables than competing materials, resulting in the most reliable and repeatable results. The inert nature of the material prevents interference with reactions and analyses. Other important features include superior optical (92% clarity) along with excellent UV transparency and low birefringence.
“The In Situ-1™ crystallization plate has already begun to receive extensive praise and positive feedback from crystallographers around the world,” said Apker. “We have now had multiple users come to us stating they have been able to crystallize samples in this plate that no other crystallization plates tested could produce.”
In new development work, MiTeGen is exploring the use of TOPAS COC resin in other crystallization plate products and sample holders. They will soon launch a new plate geared at the crystallization of membrane proteins in lipid cubic phase.
About MiTeGen LLC
MiTeGen designs, manufactures, and distributes products for crystallization, crystallography, and X-ray diffraction of proteins, viruses and small molecule/inorganic compounds, and for manipulation and measurement of small samples in cell biology, histology, clinical diagnostics, entomology, archaeology, art restoration, and geology. The company’s customers include academic, medical, pharmaceutical, government, and industrial laboratories in more than 40 countries.
MiTeGen’s strength and focus is on applying concepts and technologies from physics and related fields to address practical problems faced by researchers in the life sciences and other disciplines. The company designs and delivers custom products to meet customer specifications.
MiTeGen was founded in 2004 by Cornell Professor Robert Thorne. For more information, visit www.mitegen.com.