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Cluster analysis of time-dependent crystallographic data: Direct identification of time-independent structural intermediates.

ABSTRACT: The initial output of a time-resolved macromolecular crystallography experiment is a time-dependent series of difference electron density maps that displays the time-dependent changes in underlying structure as a reaction progresses. The goal is to interpret such data in terms of a small number of crystallographically refinable, time-independent structures, each associated with a reaction intermediate; to establish the pathways and rate coefficients by which these intermediates interconvert; and thereby to elucidate a chemical kinetic mechanism. One strategy toward achieving this goal is to use cluster analysis, a statistical method that groups objects based on their similarity. If the difference electron density at a particular voxel in the time-dependent difference electron density (TDED) maps is sensitive to the presence of one and only one intermediate, then its temporal evolution will exactly parallel the concentration profile of that intermediate with time. The rationale is therefore to cluster voxels with respect to the shapes of their TDEDs, so that each group or cluster of voxels corresponds to one structural intermediate. Clusters of voxels whose TDEDs reflect the presence of two or more specific intermediates can also be identified. From such groupings one can then infer the number of intermediates, obtain their time-independent difference density characteristics, and refine the structure of each intermediate. We review the principles of cluster analysis and clustering algorithms in a crystallographic context, and describe the application of the method to simulated and experimental time-resolved crystallographic data for the photocycle of photoactive yellow protein.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3021666 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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