First-ever determination of protein structure with X-ray laser

An international team of researchers, including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) physicist Matthias Frank and postdoctoral researcher Mark Hunter, have, for the first time, used an ultra-intense X-ray laser to determine the previously unknown atomic-scale structure of a protein. The…

An international team of researchers, including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) physicist Matthias Frank and postdoctoral researcher Mark Hunter, have, for the first time, used an ultra-intense X-ray laser to determine the previously unknown atomic-scale structure of a protein.

The work was reported in the online edition of Science. The team determined the structure of an enzyme key to the survival of the single-celled parasite Trypanosoma brucei, responsible for African sleeping sickness, a disease that kills 30,000 people each year.

This new structural information should help guide the search for drugs that act like the propeptide, tying up the enzyme and killing the parasite. To determine the structure of the precursor form of the protein—which does not form crystals large enough for traditional X-ray diffraction—submicron nanocrystals produced by the parasite were analyzed by the “diffraction before destruction” technique, in which individual nanocrystals are passed, one by one, through the X-ray beam at the Linac Coherent Light Source, followed by “stacking”of the resultant diffraction data—in this case, from 178,875 individual nanocrystals.
The achievement also demonstrates that the approach can provide otherwise unobtainable biomolecular information, potentially ushering in a new era of protein crystallography.
Livermore researchers—whose participation in the research is supported by the LDRD Program—include the development of the nanoparticle injectors, setting up laser pump probe experiments, sample preparation, damage modeling, and data acquisition at the LCLS. The figure shows the quality of the electron density (blue) in the calculated structure.
Source: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Share this Story

Tweet

Comments

Advertisement

Headlines
Mysterious bacterium found in Antarctic lake
March 13, 2013 9:57 am |
by Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press

Polar insects help scientists make gene expression discovery
March 13, 2013 9:44 am

Steganography is no laughing matter
March 12, 2013 3:47 pm

Scientists use DNA to create nano-encrypted Morse code
March 12, 2013 3:17 pm

View More Headlines

New Products
Thermocouple Connector
March 12, 2013 3:41 pm

Carbon-Graphite Ball Valve Seat
March 12, 2013 3:37 pm

Maintenance-Free Vacuum Gauge
March 11, 2013 1:50 pm

Calibration-free pH Meter
March 11, 2013 1:47 pm

View More Product Releases

Advertisement

Strange But TrueEditor’s Picks
Mysterious bacterium found in Antarctic lake
March 13, 2013 9:57 am |
by Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press

Steganography is no laughing matter
March 12, 2013 3:47 pm

Biological wires carry electricity thanks to special amino acids
March 12, 2013 10:11 am

MIT “cheetah” robot rivals running animals in efficiency
March 11, 2013 10:28 am |
by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office

Trending

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

 

Connect With Us

Newsletters

Advantage Business Media © Copyright 2013 Advantage Business Media

Top Stories and HeadlinesEVERY DAY!

FREE Email Newsletter

View Sample »