Structural Biochemistry/X-ray Crystallography

X-ray crystallography is a technique used by biochemist to determine the three dimensional structure of an enzyme, protein, molecule, etc. Although the technique requires the molecule to be able to be crystallized it has helped scientist discover how drugs can prevent certain enzyme from reacting. By determining the three dimensional structure of the protein or enzyme scientists can determine how enzyme folds and binds. From that information, scientists can design certain drugs that only stop that enzyme. For example, scientists used x-ray crystallography to determine the structure of the COX enzyme that is responsible for arthritis. Now that the scientists know the three dimensional structure of the COX enzyme, they can create drugs that would be able to stop it, such as aspirin. Therefore X-ray crystallography is a powerful tool that biochemist and scientists can use to discover new drugs that can prevent certain enzymes from activating.


1. Medicine by Designs NIH Publication No. 06-474 Reprinted July 2006