National Center for
2VT6: Native Torpedo Californica Acetylcholinesterase Collected With A Cumulated Dose Of 9400000 Gy
Shoot-and-Trap: use of specific x-ray damage to study structural protein dynamics by temperature-controlled cryo-crystallography
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. (2008) 105 p.11742-11747
Although x-ray crystallography is the most widely used method for macromolecular structure determination, it does not provide dynamical information, and either experimental tricks or complementary experiments must be used to overcome the inherently static nature of crystallographic structures. Here we used specific x-ray damage during temperature-controlled crystallographic experiments at a third-generation synchrotron source to trigger and monitor (Shoot-and-Trap) structural changes putatively involved in an enzymatic reaction. In particular, a nonhydrolyzable substrate analogue of acetylcholinesterase, the "off-switch" at cholinergic synapses, was radiocleaved within the buried enzymatic active site. Subsequent product clearance, observed at 150 K but not at 100 K, indicated exit from the active site possibly via a "backdoor." The simple strategy described here is, in principle, applicable to any enzyme whose structure in complex with a substrate analogue is available and, therefore, could serve as a standard procedure in kinetic crystallography studies.