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[ccp4bb] [ANNOUNCE] Journal of Failed Crystallization Experiments

- Protein crystallography

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CCP4bb <-- 1999 <-- November 1999 <-- 30 November 1999
Previous message:
Subject: Re: Building structure in COOT
From: Paul Emsley paul {- dot -} emsley {- at -} BIOCH {- dot -} OX {- dot -} AC {- dot -} UK
Date: 2009-04-01
Next message:
Subject: Re: [ANNOUNCE] Journal of Failed Crystallization Experiments
From: Rajesh Ponnusamy ponnusamy {- at -} BIOCHEM {- dot -} UNI-LUEBECK {- dot -} DE
Date: 2009-04-01


Subject: [ANNOUNCE] Journal of Failed Crystallization Experiments
From: Sehl Oediter sehloediter {- at -} GMAIL {- dot -} COM
Date: 2009-04-01

Dear Crystallography Community:

I am happy to announce the Journal of Failed Crystallization Experiments, a
bimonthly publication that highlights the exciting field of failed
crystallography projects and trials.

As you are all well aware, most scientific journals have been publishing
crystal structures for quite some time. While crystal structures of
biologically relevant proteins and protein complexes might be important,
they really don't evoke the kind of broader interest as stuff like these
massive sequencing efforts we have to read about in just about every other
friggin' article in the big journals. [Ed.: I mean, what could be more
exciting than shotgun sequencing of the lint that collects in one's belly
button?] Moreover, solving crystal structures is getting so easy even grad
students can do it. It's all point-and-click these days. All the real skill
is in finding some way to clone homologs from every species that ever lived
and getting those damn things expressed before the grant runs out--maybe one
of them will diffract and then we'll have a shot at a postdoc, faculty
position, or even tenure--if the global financial system doesn't collapse
first, thanks to those crooks on Wall Street.

To respond to this broader interest (which I only parenthetically
wholeheartedly share), the owners, editors, and janitorial staff at Sell
Press have decided that the crystallography community has been sitting on a
mountain of tedious data since about time immemorial--or maybe a little
after that, but not much. Moreover, we recognize that all of the easy
structures have been solved and only the hard ones remain and these hard
ones are going to take a lot of crystallization trials that will serve as
fodder for hundreds of pages of supplementary information--which we will be
sure to include only as jpeg attachments with the hopes that optical
character recognition will catch up some day, making this supplementary
information actually useful. But until then, good luck sifting through it
because it would have been just as easy to include it as an excel
spreadsheet or even a tab delimited text file. Don't make the mistake of
thinking that we can actually use bzip or tar or could even grasp that a pdf
is fundamentally different from a flat file database. You're lucky we are
even competent enough to know how to download attachments from our web mail.

For our first issue, we invite you to submit your most agonizing failures.
A4 or letter scoring sheets, scanned at 600 dpi, will suffice for original
data. We will also accept pictures of wells with oil or heavy precipitant.
We have decided that clear wells represent hope for crystals some time in
the future, so we can't accept pictures of clear wells except when the wells
have obviously dried completely. (We relish dried wells, let me tell
you--nothing screams "FAIL!" like a dry well.) We will accept pictures of
crystals only if they show no diffraction or at least display irremediable
diffraction pathology. Clean diffraction images will be accepted only when
the author can demonstrate that their project was being scooped concomitant
with data collection.

Please be aware that the Journal of Failed Crystallization Experiments has a
strict policy regarding data deposition. All data must be deposited in a
publicly accessible database and any journal submissions must include
acquisition identifiers. Moreover, despite the fact that any of dozens of
software programs might serve as a reference implementation for a data
format, we have decided to form a committee of mostly clueless computer
specialists to design a confusing and unintelligible data standard for
failed crystallization trials. Moreover, we will randomly change the format
approximately once or twice per year. The deposition process will require
that your data conform to our obscure standard. If it doesn't, we will
advise you with senseless error messages or perhaps our servers will crash.
We may even drop your connection so your browser will sit there indefinitely
just not refreshing and you forgot to note the session ID before you
uploaded your data. Tough luck. Start again. Oh but wait, the page isn't
coming up. Restart your browser. Tough luck again. Try rebooting. Nothing.
Must be our server. Try again tomorrow.

To entice the community into submitting their reports, we offer the
following tantalizing abstract (to be published in our first issue along
with the corresponding article):

=====
*The 5-HT serotonin receptor serves as the receptor for the serotonin
neurotransmitter and is also the target of many pharmaceutical and
psychotropic compounds. Here we show that this receptor just can't be
crystallized, no matter what we do. We chopped off the N-terminus, the
C-terminus, the transmembrane region, and even fused different parts
together that had no business being together. Moreover, we tried just about
every crystallization reagent in the book. We used PEG, lipids, salts, and
extreme pH conditions. We tried hanging drops, sitting drops, batch,
dialysis, sparse matrix, and incomplete factorial. We even produced
monoclonal antibody. We tried to cocrystallize with every possible ligand we
could imagine. I had the drug enforcement agency breathing down my back for
a while because of all the crazy s**t we were trying. In conclusion, don't
bother with this receptor. It ain't gonna work. Do something that's going to
get results, like an enzyme or hypothetical protein from a structural
genomics organism nobody cares about.
=====
*
Thank you for your interest in our new publication,

Sincerely,

Sehl Oediter
Chief Guy in Charge
Journal of Failed Crystallization Trials
Sell Press
Boston, MA

CCP4bb navigation

CCP4bb <-- 1999 <-- November 1999 <-- 30 November 1999
Previous message:
Subject: Re: Building structure in COOT
From: Paul Emsley paul {- dot -} emsley {- at -} BIOCH {- dot -} OX {- dot -} AC {- dot -} UK
Date: 2009-04-01
Next message:
Subject: Re: [ANNOUNCE] Journal of Failed Crystallization Experiments
From: Rajesh Ponnusamy ponnusamy {- at -} BIOCHEM {- dot -} UNI-LUEBECK {- dot -} DE
Date: 2009-04-01



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