Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Nature. 2011 Feb 3;470(7332):73-7. doi: 10.1038/nature09750.

Femtosecond X-ray protein nanocrystallography.

Author information

  • 1Center for Free-Electron Laser Science, DESY, Notkestrasse 85, 22607 Hamburg, Germany. henry.chapman@desy.de

Abstract

X-ray crystallography provides the vast majority of macromolecular structures, but the success of the method relies on growing crystals of sufficient size. In conventional measurements, the necessary increase in X-ray dose to record data from crystals that are too small leads to extensive damage before a diffraction signal can be recorded. It is particularly challenging to obtain large, well-diffracting crystals of membrane proteins, for which fewer than 300 unique structures have been determined despite their importance in all living cells. Here we present a method for structure determination where single-crystal X-ray diffraction 'snapshots' are collected from a fully hydrated stream of nanocrystals using femtosecond pulses from a hard-X-ray free-electron laser, the Linac Coherent Light Source. We prove this concept with nanocrystals of photosystem I, one of the largest membrane protein complexes. More than 3,000,000 diffraction patterns were collected in this study, and a three-dimensional data set was assembled from individual photosystem I nanocrystals (∼200 nm to 2 μm in size). We mitigate the problem of radiation damage in crystallography by using pulses briefer than the timescale of most damage processes. This offers a new approach to structure determination of macromolecules that do not yield crystals of sufficient size for studies using conventional radiation sources or are particularly sensitive to radiation damage.

Comment in

PMID:
21293373
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3429598
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (4)Free text

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk