Chapter 23.4 Solvent structure

Crystallography of biological macromolecules

First Online Edition (2006)

Part 23. Structural analysis and classification

  1. C. Mattos1,
  2. D. Ringe2

Published Online: 1 JAN 2006

DOI: 10.1107/97809553602060000717

International Tables for Crystallography

International Tables for Crystallography

How to Cite

Mattos, C. and Ringe, D. 2006. Solvent structure. International Tables for Crystallography. F:23:23.4:623–647.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Molecular and Structural Biochemistry, North Carolina State University, 128 Polk Hall, Raleigh, NC 02795, USA

  2. 2

    Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center, Brandeis University, 415 South St, Waltham, MA 02254, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 JAN 2006


This chapter summarises empirical information on the structure of water molecules bound to proteins. The focus is on structures solved by X-ray crystallography, although complementary techniques of obtaining solvent structure are discussed briefly and, when appropriate, particular examples are given. The coverage includes: methods by which solvent structure can be observed; knowledge derived from database analysis of large numbers of proteins; particular examples of groups of well studied protein structures; the contribution of protein models obtained at very high resolution to the understanding of solvent structure; and an analysis of water molecules as mediators of complex formation. Finally, a conclusion and a perspective is presented regarding the direction in which this information can lead in building a cohesive understanding of the roles played by solvent in the structural integrity and biological function of macromolecules.


  • amino acids;
  • antigen–antibody association;
  • bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor;
  • complex formation;
  • crambin;
  • elastase;
  • haemoglobin;
  • legume lectins;
  • lysozyme;
  • protein kinase A;
  • protein–DNA recognition;
  • protein–ligand interactions;
  • protein–water interactions;
  • ribonuclease;
  • secondary structure;
  • serine proteases;
  • solvent structure;
  • T4 lysozyme;
  • tertiary structure;
  • water molecules