I am not very familiar with the experimental procedure of x-ray crystallography except that it involves the very delicate matter of producing crystal that contain proteins and then diffracting rays through it to get a pattern that tells us about the shape of the protein.
I am curious though when you crystallize a protein that usually stays in the cellular fluid, does it go through any conformational or size changes. For instance isn't there some pressure applied by the water that would potentially result in protein being smaller then what it might be under less pressure. Or what about hydrophobic\philic effects that play an important role in protein folding. Of course once the protein is folded it is bonded through interactions stronger than hydrophobicity so it is not that delicate. But still a complete change of surrounding environment should count as a big change, should it not? So are there any theoretical or experimental explanations as to whether the protein changes size and\or shape during crystallization? References to both experimental and theoretical work are very welcome. Although I guess experimental evidence would make more sense in this matter since usually potentials are optimized to account for the crystal structure to be the minimum of the energy so it I can't see how theoretical works could potentially help to understand this issue. I guess one way would be to take a native protein structure determined by X-ray and run it through AB initio molecular mechanics where potentials do not depend on parameters obtained from the native states of proteins on PDB database. I don`t know how theoretically sound that would be though.