Very similar to the situation abroad, X-ray protein crystallography , as one of the main methods of three-dimentional structure determination in structural biology, has good foundation and fairly mature research rank in China.
After Chinese scientific workers first succeeded in the total chemical synthesis of crystalline bovine insulin , some Chinese crystallographers from institutes of Academia Sinica and Beijing University got together in the Institute of Physics of Academia Sinica and began to study the crystal structure of insulin in 1967. This research program made China become one of the countries which set foot very early in the field of protein crystallography.
Not long after the Oxford group led by Prof. Hodgkin published the 2.8A resolution structure of insulin, the Chinese research group reported the structure of insulin at 4A and 2.5A resolution in 1970 and 1971 respectively. The I .8A resolution structure published in 1974 was the highest resolution structure by multiple isomorphous replacement (MIR) method in the world at that time.
At the end of 1970th and the beginning of 1980th the precise structural studies on 2Zn insulin and despentapeptide insulin (DPI) at 1.2A and 1.5A resolution respectively achived results at world level at that time. The structure research work of tricosanthin(天花粉蛋白) which started later in 1970th, and the following studies on D-glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, the inhabitor of trypsin and so on were the important projects after insulin in China.
In recent more 10 years, some new projects of protein crystallography achieved exciting results in China.
Except area-detectors with rotating anode X-ray generators Chinese crystallographers did not have their own synchrotron radiation source and facilities now, however they have very close relationship with Prof. Sakabe and his colleagues in the Photon Factory, KEK, from where they get warmhearted supports and helps. And so, over a long period of time Chinese protein crystallographers frequently come to Tsukuba, Japan to do experiments and have collected many high quality reflection data on the beam lines of BL6A , BL6B and BL18B of synchrotron radiation source with Weissenberg cameras in PF of KEK. These academic activities not only promote the friendship between Chinese and Japanese protein crystallographers, but also advantage to the protein crystal structure research work in China.