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