Protein Crystallization Research Facility (PCRF) - 07.29.14

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The Protein Crystallization Research Facility (PCRF) is a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) subrack facility which will investigate protein crystal growth in microgravity. PCRF is housed in the Ryutai (fluid) Experiment Rack, along with the Fluid Physics Experiment Facility (FPEF), Solution Crystallization Observation Facility (SCOF), and the Image Processing Unit (IPU).

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This content was provided by Tsuyoshi Ito, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Facility Details

OpNom: PCRF

Facility Manager(s)

  • Tsuyoshi Ito, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Tsukuba, Japan

  • Facility Representative(s)
  • Kenji Noguchi, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Tsukuba, Japan

  • Developer(s)

    Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Tsukuba, , Japan

    Sponsoring Space Agency
    Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

    Sponsoring Organization
    Information Pending

    ISS Expedition Duration
    April 2008 - March 2015

    Expeditions Assigned
    17,18,41/42

    Previous ISS Missions
    Information Pending

    Availability

  • Onboard
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    Facility Description

    Facility Overview

    The Protein Crystallization Research Facility (PCRF) is a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) subrack facility which will investigate protein crystal growth in microgravity in the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM), Kibo, on board the International Space Station (ISS).


    PCRF is located within the Ryutai (fluid) Experiment Rack with the Fluid Physics Experiment Facility (FPEF), Solution Crystallization Observation Facility (SCOF), and the Image Processing Unit (IPU) subrack facilities.


    The Protein Crystallization Research Facility (PCRF) is a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) subrack facility, located in the Ryutai (fluid) Rack, which will investigate protein crystal growth in microgravity. The PCRF can accommodate six cell cartridges. Each cell cartridge can accommodate a motor drive and Peltier elements, from which activation and termination timing, as well as temperature profiles, can be freely designed by the investigator. An experimental profile appropriate for each protein can be established. A CCD camera enables real-time monitoring of crystal growth.


    PCRF is housed in Ryutai, a JAXA multipurpose payload rack system that transports, stores and supports experiments and subrack facilities aboard the International Space Station (ISS) along with the following JAXA subrack facilities:

    • Fluid Physics Experiment Facility (FPEF) investigates fluid physics phenomena in microgravity.

    • Solution Crystallization Observation Facility (SCOF) is equipped with several microscopes to simultaneously measure changes in morphology and growth conditions (temperature and concentration) of crystals.

    • Image Processing Unit (IPU) receives image data from various subrack facilities and encodes the data, then transfers the encoded data to system lines.

    The PCRF is scheduled for launch inside the Ryutai to the ISS on STS-123/1J/A. The PCRF may be controlled by the ISS crew or remotely by the Ryutai Rack Operator on-duty at the User Operations Area in the Space Station Integration and Promotion Center. Linked by computer to the payload aboard ISS, the Rack Operator routinely checks temperature control and the proper working conditions of ISS research payloads. Ryutai, containing the PCRF and other subrack facilities will be transported to the ISS in the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) Experiment Logistics Module (ELM) aboard STS-123/1J/A. Once Kibo is attached to the ISS, Ryutai will be transferred by the crew to a rack location inside the Kibo. After the rack is installed and checked out, the rack will be ready for subrack facility operations and will be operated as the science is scheduled. Checkout of PCRF is performed following activation of the Ryutai on the ISS.

    PCRF peltier elements installed to cartridges provide temperature profiles suitable for target proteins from 0 to 35 degrees C. PCRF can accommodate six cell cartridges containing 10 to 16 wells per cartridge which can hold 10 to 500 microliters per well. The following methods will be used to create crystals: Vapor Diffusion; Batch; Membrane and Liquid-liquid Diffusion.

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    Operations

    Facility Operations
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    Results/More Information
    Information Pending

    Results Publications

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    Ground Based Results Publications

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    ISS Patents

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    Related Publications

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    Related Websites

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    Imagery

    image Protein Crystallization Research Facility (PCRF), Image courtesy of JAXA.
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    image NASA Image: ISS017E019772 View of the Protein Crystallization Reserach Facility (PCRF) and Solution Crystallization Observation Facility (SCOF) on the Ryutai Rack in the Japanese Experiment Photo was taken during Expedition 17/18 joint operations.
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    image NASA Image: ISS020E026298 - Astronaut Tim Kopra, Expedition 20 flight engineer, works at the Protein Crystallization Research Facility (PCRF) in the Kibo laboratory of the International Space Station.
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    image NASA Image: ISS020E050708 -- NASA astronaut Nicole Stott, Expedition 20/21 flight engineer, works at the Protein Crystallization Research Facility (PCRF) in the Kibo laboratory of the International Space Station.
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