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Ab-Initio Phasing Using Nanocrystal Shape Transforms With Incomplete Unit Cells

Description

X-ray free electron lasers are used in measuring diffraction patterns from nanocrystals in the 'diffract-before-destroy' mode by outrunning radiation damage. The finite-sized nanocrystals provide an opportunity to recover intensity between Bragg spots by removing the modulating function that depends on

X-ray free electron lasers are used in measuring diffraction patterns from nanocrystals in the 'diffract-before-destroy' mode by outrunning radiation damage. The finite-sized nanocrystals provide an opportunity to recover intensity between Bragg spots by removing the modulating function that depends on crystal shape, i.e. the transform of the crystal shape. This shape-transform dividing-out scheme for solving the phase problem has been tested using simulated examples with cubic crystals. It provides a phasing method which does not require atomic resolution data, chemical modification to the sample, or modelling based on the protein databases. It is common to find multiple structural units (e.g. molecules, in symmetry-related positions) within a single unit cell, therefore incomplete unit cells (e.g. one additional molecule) can be observed at surface layers of crystals. In this work, the effects of such incomplete unit cells on the 'dividing-out' phasing algorithm are investigated using 2D crystals within the projection approximation. It is found that the incomplete unit cells do not hinder the recovery of the scattering pattern from a single unit cell (after dividing out the shape transforms from data merged from many nanocrystals of different sizes), assuming that certain unit-cell types are preferred. The results also suggest that the dynamic range of the data is a critical issue to be resolved in order to apply the shape transform method practically.

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Date Created
2014-01-01

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X-ray lasers and serial crystallography

Description

It is now more than five years since protein crystallography data were first collected using a free-electron X-ray laser (XFEL), so it seems an appropriate time for an evaluation of this method of `serial femtosecond crystallography' (SFX) and its relatives.

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Date Created
2015-05

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Serial femtosecond crystallography of soluble proteins in lipidic cubic phase

Description

Serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) at X-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs) enables high-resolution protein structure determination using micrometre-sized crystals at room temperature with minimal effects from radiation damage. SFX requires a steady supply of microcrystals intersecting the XFEL beam at random orientations.

Serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) at X-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs) enables high-resolution protein structure determination using micrometre-sized crystals at room temperature with minimal effects from radiation damage. SFX requires a steady supply of microcrystals intersecting the XFEL beam at random orientations. An LCP–SFX method has recently been introduced in which microcrystals of membrane proteins are grown and delivered for SFX data collection inside a gel-like membrane-mimetic matrix, known as lipidic cubic phase (LCP), using a special LCP microextrusion injector. Here, it is demonstrated that LCP can also be used as a suitable carrier medium for microcrystals of soluble proteins, enabling a dramatic reduction in the amount of crystallized protein required for data collection compared with crystals delivered by liquid injectors. High-quality LCP–SFX data sets were collected for two soluble proteins, lysozyme and phycocyanin, using less than 0.1 mg of each protein.

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Date Created
2015-08-04

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Serial crystallography at synchrotrons and X-ray lasers

Description

Recently we have seen rapid progress in the serial crystallography (SC) method at X-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs). Injection of thousands of protein microcrystals into the ∼10[superscript 12] photons of few-femtosecond XFEL pulses has allowed the structure determination of crystals grown

Recently we have seen rapid progress in the serial crystallography (SC) method at X-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs). Injection of thousands of protein microcrystals into the ∼10[superscript 12] photons of few-femtosecond XFEL pulses has allowed the structure determination of crystals grown in vivo, or of submicron size, and from challenging targets such as membrane proteins. For time-resolved studies, the small crystal size allows for rapid diffusive saturation in mix-and-inject analysis of biochemical reactions, and full optical saturation of the sample by a pump laser in studies of light-driven proteins. The ability to outrun most radiation damage avoids the need for sample cooling and its artifacts, allowing studies of molecular machines at work in their correct room-temperature thermal bath or a controlled chemical environment.

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Date Created
2017-03

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A novel inert crystal delivery medium for serial femtosecond crystallography

Description

Serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) has opened a new era in crystallo­graphy by permitting nearly damage-free, room-temperature structure determination of challenging proteins such as membrane proteins. In SFX, femtosecond X-ray free-electron laser pulses produce diffraction snapshots from nanocrystals and microcrystals delivered

Serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) has opened a new era in crystallo­graphy by permitting nearly damage-free, room-temperature structure determination of challenging proteins such as membrane proteins. In SFX, femtosecond X-ray free-electron laser pulses produce diffraction snapshots from nanocrystals and microcrystals delivered in a liquid jet, which leads to high protein consumption. A slow-moving stream of agarose has been developed as a new crystal delivery medium for SFX. It has low background scattering, is compatible with both soluble and membrane proteins, and can deliver the protein crystals at a wide range of temperatures down to 4°C. Using this crystal-laden agarose stream, the structure of a multi-subunit complex, phycocyanin, was solved to 2.5 Å resolution using 300 µg of microcrystals embedded into the agarose medium post-crystallization. The agarose delivery method reduces protein consumption by at least 100-fold and has the potential to be used for a diverse population of proteins, including membrane protein complexes.

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Date Created
2015-06-30

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Lipidic cubic phase serial millisecond crystallography using synchrotron radiation

Description

Lipidic cubic phases (LCPs) have emerged as successful matrixes for the crystallization of membrane proteins. Moreover, the viscous LCP also provides a highly effective delivery medium for serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) at X-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs). Here, the adaptation of

Lipidic cubic phases (LCPs) have emerged as successful matrixes for the crystallization of membrane proteins. Moreover, the viscous LCP also provides a highly effective delivery medium for serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) at X-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs). Here, the adaptation of this technology to perform serial millisecond crystallography (SMX) at more widely available synchrotron microfocus beamlines is described. Compared with conventional microcrystallography, LCP-SMX eliminates the need for difficult handling of individual crystals and allows for data collection at room temperature. The technology is demonstrated by solving a structure of the light-driven proton-pump bacteriorhodopsin (bR) at a resolution of 2.4 Å. The room-temperature structure of bR is very similar to previous cryogenic structures but shows small yet distinct differences in the retinal ligand and proton-transfer pathway.

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Date Created
2015-01-27

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Imaging enzyme kinetics at atomic resolution

Description

The 1958 Nobel prize to Beadle and Tatum for proposing that each gene is responsible for a distinct enzyme is now seen as both foundational to molecular biology and genetics, albeit oversimplified. Some genes, for example, code for functional RNAs,

The 1958 Nobel prize to Beadle and Tatum for proposing that each gene is responsible for a distinct enzyme is now seen as both foundational to molecular biology and genetics, albeit oversimplified. Some genes, for example, code for functional RNAs, while others code for non-enzymatic proteins such as collagen. Yet enzymes remain fundamental to life on earth, catalyzing at least 5000 biochemical reactions (so far identified). Enzymes can increase reaction rates by huge factors, from millions of years to milliseconds per event, so that, from meat tenderizer to washing powder, to muscle contraction, cargo transport in the cell, ion pumps, infection and digestion, no molecular machine is more fundamental to biological function than the enzyme.

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Date Created
2016-07

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X-ray laser diffraction for structure determination of the rhodopsin-arrestin complex

Description

Serial femtosecond X-ray crystallography (SFX) using an X-ray free electron laser (XFEL) is a recent advancement in structural biology for solving crystal structures of challenging membrane proteins, including G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), which often only produce microcrystals. An XFEL delivers

Serial femtosecond X-ray crystallography (SFX) using an X-ray free electron laser (XFEL) is a recent advancement in structural biology for solving crystal structures of challenging membrane proteins, including G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), which often only produce microcrystals. An XFEL delivers highly intense X-ray pulses of femtosecond duration short enough to enable the collection of single diffraction images before significant radiation damage to crystals sets in. Here we report the deposition of the XFEL data and provide further details on crystallization, XFEL data collection and analysis, structure determination, and the validation of the structural model. The rhodopsin-arrestin crystal structure solved with SFX represents the first near-atomic resolution structure of a GPCR-arrestin complex, provides structural insights into understanding of arrestin-mediated GPCR signaling, and demonstrates the great potential of this SFX-XFEL technology for accelerating crystal structure determination of challenging proteins and protein complexes.

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Date Created
2016-04-12

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The room temperature crystal structure of a bacterial phytochrome determined by serial femtosecond crystallography

Description

Phytochromes are a family of photoreceptors that control light responses of plants, fungi and bacteria. A sequence of structural changes, which is not yet fully understood, leads to activation of an output domain. Time-resolved serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) can potentially

Phytochromes are a family of photoreceptors that control light responses of plants, fungi and bacteria. A sequence of structural changes, which is not yet fully understood, leads to activation of an output domain. Time-resolved serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) can potentially shine light on these conformational changes. Here we report the room temperature crystal structure of the chromophore-binding domains of the Deinococcus radiodurans phytochrome at 2.1 Å resolution. The structure was obtained by serial femtosecond X-ray crystallography from microcrystals at an X-ray free electron laser. We find overall good agreement compared to a crystal structure at 1.35 Å resolution derived from conventional crystallography at cryogenic temperatures, which we also report here. The thioether linkage between chromophore and protein is subject to positional ambiguity at the synchrotron, but is fully resolved with SFX. The study paves the way for time-resolved structural investigations of the phytochrome photocycle with time-resolved SFX.

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Date Created
2016-10-19

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Lipidic cubic phase injector is a viable crystal delivery system for time-resolved serial crystallography

Description

Serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) using X-ray free-electron laser sources is an emerging method with considerable potential for time-resolved pump-probe experiments. Here we present a lipidic cubic phase SFX structure of the light-driven proton pump bacteriorhodopsin (bR) to 2.3 Å resolution and

Serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) using X-ray free-electron laser sources is an emerging method with considerable potential for time-resolved pump-probe experiments. Here we present a lipidic cubic phase SFX structure of the light-driven proton pump bacteriorhodopsin (bR) to 2.3 Å resolution and a method to investigate protein dynamics with modest sample requirement. Time-resolved SFX (TR-SFX) with a pump-probe delay of 1 ms yields difference Fourier maps compatible with the dark to M state transition of bR. Importantly, the method is very sample efficient and reduces sample consumption to about 1 mg per collected time point. Accumulation of M intermediate within the crystal lattice is confirmed by time-resolved visible absorption spectroscopy. This study provides an important step towards characterizing the complete photocycle dynamics of retinal proteins and demonstrates the feasibility of a sample efficient viscous medium jet for TR-SFX.

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Date Created
2016-08-22