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Serial crystallography: beyond Monte Carlo data analysis

Description

The superior brightness and ultra short pulse duration of X-ray free electron laser

(XFEL) allows it to outrun radiation damage in coherent diffractive imaging since elastic scattering terminates before photoelectron cascades

The superior brightness and ultra short pulse duration of X-ray free electron laser

(XFEL) allows it to outrun radiation damage in coherent diffractive imaging since elastic scattering terminates before photoelectron cascades commences. This “diffract-before-destroy” feature of XFEL opened up new opportunities for biological macromolecule imaging and structure studies by breaking the limit to spatial resolution imposed by the maximum dose that is allowed before radiation damage. However, data collection in serial femto-second crystallography (SFX) using XFEL is affected by a bunch of stochastic factors, which pose great challenges to the data analysis in SFX. These stochastic factors include crystal size, shape, random orientation, X-ray photon flux, position and energy spectrum. Monte-Carlo integration proves effective and successful in extracting the structure factors by merging all diffraction patterns given that the data set is sufficiently large to average out all stochastic factors. However, this approach typically requires hundreds of thousands of patterns collected from experiments. This dissertation explores both experimental and algorithmic methods to eliminate or reduce the effect of stochastic factors in data acquisition and analysis. Coherent convergent X-ray beam diffraction (CCB) is discussed for possibilities of obtaining single-shot angular-integrated rocking curves. It is also shown the interference between Bragg disks helps ab-initio phasing. Two-color diffraction scheme is proposed for time-resolved studies and general data collection strategies are discussed based on error metrics. A new auto-indexing algorithm for sparse patterns is developed and demonstrated for both simulated and experimental data. Statistics show that indexing rate is increased by 3 times for I3C data set collected from beam time LJ69 at Linac coherent light source (LCLS). Finally, dynamical inversion from electron diffraction is explored as an alternative approach for structure determination.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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Overcoming barriers in structural biology through method development of serial crystallography

Description

Serial crystallography (SX) is a relatively new structural biology technique that collects X-ray diffraction data from microcrystals via femtosecond pulses produced by an X-ray free electron

Serial crystallography (SX) is a relatively new structural biology technique that collects X-ray diffraction data from microcrystals via femtosecond pulses produced by an X-ray free electron laser (X-FEL) or by synchrotron radiation, allowing for challenging protein structures to be solved from microcrystals at room temperature. Because of the youth of this technique, method development is necessary for it to achieve its full potential.

Most serial crystallography experiments have relied on delivering sample in the mother liquor focused into a stream by compressed gas. This liquid stream moves at a fast rate, meaning that most of the valuable sample is wasted. For this reason, the liquid jet can require 10-100 milligrams of sample for a complete data set. Agarose has been developed as a slow moving microcrystal carrier to decrease sample consumption and waste. The agarose jet provides low background, no Debye-Sherrer rings, is compatible for sample delivery in vacuum environments, and is compatible with a wide variety of crystal systems. Additionally, poly(ethylene oxide) which is amenable for data collection in atmosphere has been developed for synchrotron experiments. Thus this work allows sample limited proteins of difficult to crystallize systems to be investigated by serial crystallography.

Time-resolved serial X-ray crystallography (TR-SX) studies have only been employed to study light-triggered reactions in photoactive systems. While these systems are very important, most proteins in Nature are not light-driven. However, fast mixing of two liquids, such as those containing enzyme protein crystals and substrates, immediately before being exposed to an X-ray beam would allow conformational changes and /or intermediates to be seen by diffraction. As a model, 3-deoxy-D-manno-2-octulosonate-8-phosphate synthase (KDO8PS), has been developed for TR-SX. This enzyme initializes the first step of lipopolysaccharide synthesis by a net aldol condensation between arabinose-5-phosphate, phosphoenol pyruvate, and water. During this reaction, a short lived intermediate is formed and has been observed on a millisecond timescale using other methods. Thus KDO8PS is an ideal model protein for studying diffusion times into a crystal and short mixing times (<10 ms). For these experiments, microcrystals diffracting to high resolution have been developed and characterized.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Sample injector fabrication and delivery method development for serial crystallography using synchrotrons and X-ray free electron lasers

Description

Sample delivery is an essential component in biological imaging using serial diffraction from X-ray Free Electron Lasers (XFEL) and synchrotrons. Recent developments have made possible the near-atomic resolution structure

Sample delivery is an essential component in biological imaging using serial diffraction from X-ray Free Electron Lasers (XFEL) and synchrotrons. Recent developments have made possible the near-atomic resolution structure determination of several important proteins, including one G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) drug target, whose structure could not easily have been determined otherwise (Appendix A). In this thesis I describe new sample delivery developments that are paramount to advancing this field beyond what has been accomplished to date. Soft Lithography was used to implement sample conservation in the Gas Dynamic Virtual Nozzle (GDVN). A PDMS/glass composite microfluidic injector was created and given the capability of millisecond fluidic switching of a GDVN liquid jet within the divergent section of a 2D Laval-like GDVN nozzle, providing a means of collecting sample between the pulses of current XFELs. An oil/water droplet immersion jet was prototyped that suspends small sample droplets within an oil jet such that the sample droplet frequency may match the XFEL pulse repetition rate. A similar device was designed to use gas bubbles for synchronized “on/off” jet behavior and for active micromixing. 3D printing based on 2-Photon Polymerization (2PP) was used to directly fabricate reproducible GDVN injectors at high resolution, introducing the possibility of systematic nozzle research and highly complex GDVN injectors. Viscous sample delivery using the “LCP injector” was improved with a method for dealing with poorly extruding sample mediums when using full beam transmission from the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), and a new viscous crystal-carrying medium was characterized for use in both vacuum and atmospheric environments: high molecular weight Polyethylene Glycol.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015