Acta crystallographica. Section D, Biological crystallography

Phasing at high resolution using Ta6Br12 cluster.

PMID 12595706


The Ta(6)Br(12)(2+) cluster compound is known to be a powerful reagent for derivatization of crystals of large macromolecules at low resolution. The cluster is a regular octahedron of six Ta atoms with 12 bridging Br atoms at the edges of the octahedron. The cluster is compact, of approximately spherical shape, with a radius of about 6 A. Both tantalum and bromine display a significant anomalous diffraction signal at their absorption edges at 1.25 and 0.92 A, respectively. At resolutions lower than 5 A the tantalum cluster behaves as a super-atom and provides very large isomorphous and anomalous signals, which significantly diminish at about 4 A. However, beyond 3 A the individual Ta atoms can be resolved and the phasing power of the cluster increases again. The Ta(6)Br(12)(2+) cluster has been used for phasing four different proteins at high resolution. Ta(6)Br(12)(2+) appeared to be a mild derivatization reagent and, despite partial incorporation, led to a successful solution of crystal structures by the single-wavelength anomalous diffraction (SAD) approach.