October 12, 2010 14:35
While the topic of protein crystallization lost out on the 2010 Nobel Prizes, I herewith award the Funniest Protein Crystallization paper ever
to: Terese Berfors for introducing witty humor into a protein crystallization paper while protecting the lives of animals.
This award is based on a 2003 paper where Terese reviews protein crystallization seeding techniques in a 'tips and tricks' - style paper. Specifically she points out how seeding wands can be made from animal hair, such as cat whiskers and horse hail hair.
Bergfors, T. (2003)
Seeds to crystals
Journal of Structural Biology, 142 (1), 66-76 DOI: 10.1016/S1047-8477(03)00039-X
Check out the image below, showing a "Scanning electron micrograph of a horse hair tail with an attached crystal". While this is pretty neat, she also shows an image of the back end of a horse:
and then comes the figure legend (b) where she writes "An abundant source of material for seeding wands can be found at the flexible C-terminus of this animal."
This cracks me up every time I see it. Thank you so much, Terese for the Endophin spikes your 2003 paper gives me every so often.
The paper ends on a more serious and highly laudable "technical note" where Terese reminds researchers not to partake in any animal cruelty acts but to simply purchase the protein streak seeding devices she recommends:
No need to agonize your cat, cat whiskers can be purchased.
I checked the Charles River website, called up their technical support and have not yet received an order number for cat whiskers yet. Does anybody reading this know where to purchase cat whiskers from?