Based on lab-on-a-chip micro-fluidics the PlugMaker has several key features:
• Low sample volume: 5-10 nL/experiment; up to 800 experiments / 4 uL protein
• No dead-volume, therefore no loss of protein sample
• Enables systematic assessment of optimal protein 'crystallization slot' through optimization screens
• Crystals directly amenable to X-ray diffraction experiments with standard equipment
• Crystals can be readily extracted for traditional cryo-preservation
• Low cost per experiment
Optimal protein crystallization growth conditions can be identified by systematic variation of one or two chemical components. MPCS™ fine gradient screening via automated on-chip formulation is a powerful optimization tool that allows thorough interrogation of specific regions of crystallization phase space. Sparse matrix screening is achieved with the Plug Maker™ using the Hybrid Mode. In the Hybrid Mode, a pre-formed cartridge from a 96-well plate, containing a series of precipitants is generated and combined with the protein sample inside the CrystalCard™. Crystals are easily extracted from the CrystalCards™ by peeling off the back and looping the crystals.
The Emerald BioSystems Plug Maker™ instrument was recently recognized by the Association for Lab Automation (ALA) with the organization’s New Product Award. ALA's New Product Award recognized the top three outstanding new products showcased at LabAutomation2010, the world’s leading conference and exhibition on Emerging Laboratory Technologies.