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1.  Preliminary neutron and ultrahigh-resolution X-ray diffraction studies of the aspartic proteinase endothiapepsin cocrystallized with a gem-diol inhibitor 
Endothiapepsin has been cocrystallized with the gem-diol inhibitor PD-135,040 in a low solvent-content (39%) unit cell, which is unprecedented for this enzyme—inhibitor complex and enables ultrahigh-resolution (1.0 Å) X-ray diffraction data to be collected. This atomic resolution X-ray data set will be used to deduce the protonation states of the catalytic aspartate residues. A room-temperature neutron data set has also been collected for joint refinement with a room-temperature X-ray data set in order to locate the H/D atoms at the active site.
PMCID: PMC2344097  PMID: 18084100
2.  The structure of endothiapepsin complexed with a Phe-Tyr reduced-bond inhibitor at 1.35 Å resolution 
An oligopeptide containing a reduced analogue of a Phe-Tyr dipeptide was found to have good inhibition activity against endothiapepsin, and the crystal structure of the inhibitor–enzyme complex has been determined at 1.35 Å resolution.
Endothiapepsin is a typical member of the aspartic proteinase family. The catalytic mechanism of this family is attributed to two conserved catalytic aspartate residues, which coordinate the hydrolysis of a peptide bond. An oligopeptide inhibitor (IC50 = 0.62 µM) based on a reduced-bond transition-state inhibitor of mucorpepsin was co-crystallized with endothiapepsin and the crystal structure of the enzyme–inhibitor complex was determined at 1.35 Å resolution. A total of 12 hydrogen bonds between the inhibitor and the active-site residues were identified. The resulting structure demonstrates a number of novel subsite interactions in the active-site cleft.
PMCID: PMC3943106  PMID: 24419612
endothiapepsin; aspartic proteases; transition state; inhibitor
3.  Fragment Linking and Optimization of Inhibitors of the Aspartic Protease Endothiapepsin: Fragment‐Based Drug Design Facilitated by Dynamic Combinatorial Chemistry 
Fragment‐based drug design (FBDD) affords active compounds for biological targets. While there are numerous reports on FBDD by fragment growing/optimization, fragment linking has rarely been reported. Dynamic combinatorial chemistry (DCC) has become a powerful hit‐identification strategy for biological targets. We report the synergistic combination of fragment linking and DCC to identify inhibitors of the aspartic protease endothiapepsin. Based on X‐ray crystal structures of endothiapepsin in complex with fragments, we designed a library of bis‐acylhydrazones and used DCC to identify potent inhibitors. The most potent inhibitor exhibits an IC50 value of 54 nm, which represents a 240‐fold improvement in potency compared to the parent hits. Subsequent X‐ray crystallography validated the predicted binding mode, thus demonstrating the efficiency of the combination of fragment linking and DCC as a hit‐identification strategy. This approach could be applied to a range of biological targets, and holds the potential to facilitate hit‐to‐lead optimization.
PMCID: PMC5113778  PMID: 27400756
dynamic combinatorial chemistry; fragment-based drug design; inhibitors; proteases; X-ray diffraction
4.  Sub-atomic resolution X-ray crystallography and neutron crystallography: promise, challenges and potential 
IUCrJ  2015;2(Pt 4):464-474.
Neutron crystallography and sub-atomic X-ray crystallography complement each other in defining hydrogen positions in macromolecules. Significant advances have been made but much effort is still required if neutron crystallography is to become a mainstream activity.
The International Year of Crystallography saw the number of macromolecular structures deposited in the Protein Data Bank cross the 100000 mark, with more than 90000 of these provided by X-ray crystallography. The number of X-ray structures determined to sub-atomic resolution (i.e. ≤1 Å) has passed 600 and this is likely to continue to grow rapidly with diffraction-limited synchrotron radiation sources such as MAX-IV (Sweden) and Sirius (Brazil) under construction. A dozen X-ray structures have been deposited to ultra-high resolution (i.e. ≤0.7 Å), for which precise electron density can be exploited to obtain charge density and provide information on the bonding character of catalytic or electron transfer sites. Although the development of neutron macromolecular crystallography over the years has been far less pronounced, and its application much less widespread, the availability of new and improved instrumentation, combined with dedicated deuteration facilities, are beginning to transform the field. Of the 83 macromolecular structures deposited with neutron diffraction data, more than half (49/83, 59%) were released since 2010. Sub-mm3 crystals are now regularly being used for data collection, structures have been determined to atomic resolution for a few small proteins, and much larger unit-cell systems (cell edges >100 Å) are being successfully studied. While some details relating to H-atom positions are tractable with X-ray crystallography at sub-atomic resolution, the mobility of certain H atoms precludes them from being located. In addition, highly polarized H atoms and protons (H+) remain invisible with X-rays. Moreover, the majority of X-ray structures are determined from cryo-cooled crystals at 100 K, and, although radiation damage can be strongly controlled, especially since the advent of shutterless fast detectors, and by using limited doses and crystal translation at micro-focus beams, radiation damage can still take place. Neutron crystallography therefore remains the only approach where diffraction data can be collected at room temperature without radiation damage issues and the only approach to locate mobile or highly polarized H atoms and protons. Here a review of the current status of sub-atomic X-ray and neutron macromolecular crystallography is given and future prospects for combined approaches are outlined. New results from two metalloproteins, copper nitrite reductase and cytochrome c′, are also included, which illustrate the type of information that can be obtained from sub-atomic-resolution (∼0.8 Å) X-ray structures, while also highlighting the need for complementary neutron studies that can provide details of H atoms not provided by X-ray crystallography.
PMCID: PMC4491318  PMID: 26175905
neutron; X-ray; hydrogen; proton; protonation states; radiation damage; redox biology; proton coupling; electron transfer; X-ray laser; XFEL
5.  A preliminary neutron diffraction study of γ-­chymotrypsin 
A 2.0 Å resolution neutron diffraction data set has been collected from a D2O-soaked γ-chymotrypsin crystal at low pH on the Institute Laue–Langevin LADI-III beamline.
The crystal preparation and preliminary neutron diffraction analysis of γ-­chymotrypsin are presented. Large hydrogenated crystals of γ-chymotrypsin were exchanged into deuterated buffer via vapor diffusion in a capillary and neutron Laue diffraction data were collected from the resulting crystal to 2.0 Å resolution on the LADI-III diffractometer at the Institut Laue–Langevin (ILL) at room temperature. The neutron structure of a well studied protein such as γ-­chymotrypsin, which is also amenable to ultrahigh-resolution X-ray crystallo­graphy, represents the first step in developing a model system for the study of H atoms in protein crystals.
PMCID: PMC2650460  PMID: 19255494
γ-chymotrypsin; neutron diffraction
6.  Room-temperature ultrahigh-resolution time-of-flight neutron and X-ray diffraction studies of H/D-exchanged crambin 
Acta Crystallographica Section F  2012;68(Pt 2):119-123.
The 0.85 Å room-temperature ultrahigh-resolution structure of H/D-exchanged crambin is reported. Preliminary 1.1 Å resolution neutron diffraction data have been collected at the neutron Protein Crystallography Station at LANSCE.
The room-temperature (RT) X-ray structure of H/D-exchanged crambin is reported at 0.85 Å resolution. As one of the very few proteins refined with anisotropic atomic displacement parameters at two temperatures, the dynamics of atoms in the RT and 100 K structures are compared. Neutron diffraction data from an H/D-exchanged crambin crystal collected at the Protein Crystallo­graphy Station (PCS) showed diffraction beyond 1.1 Å resolution. This is the highest resolution neutron diffraction reported to date for a protein crystal and will reveal important details of the anisotropic motions of H and D atoms in protein structures.
PMCID: PMC3274385  PMID: 22297981
crambin; neutron diffraction; ultrahigh resolution; H/D exchange
7.  Inorganic pyrophosphatase crystals from Thermococcus thioreducens for X-ray and neutron diffraction 
Inorganic pyrophosphatase from T. thioreducans has been crystallized and the crystals were deemed to be suitable for both X-ray and neutron diffraction at room temperature.
Inorganic pyrophosphatase (IPPase) from the archaeon Thermococcus thioreducens was cloned, overexpressed in Escherichia coli, purified and crystallized in restricted geometry, resulting in large crystal volumes exceeding 5 mm3. IPPase is thermally stable and is able to resist denaturation at temperatures above 348 K. Owing to the high temperature tolerance of the enzyme, the protein was amenable to room-temperature manipulation at the level of protein preparation, crystallization and X-ray and neutron diffraction analyses. A complete synchrotron X-ray diffraction data set to 1.85 Å resolution was collected at room temperature from a single crystal of IPPase (monoclinic space group C2, unit-cell parameters a = 106.11, b = 95.46, c = 113.68 Å, α = γ = 90.0, β = 98.12°). As large-volume crystals of IPPase can be obtained, preliminary neutron diffraction tests were undertaken. Consequently, Laue diffraction images were obtained, with reflections observed to 2.1 Å resolution with I/σ(I) greater than 2.5. The preliminary crystallographic results reported here set in place future structure–function and mechanism studies of IPPase.
PMCID: PMC3509969  PMID: 23192028
inorganic pyrophosphatase; Thermococcus thioreducens; neutron diffraction
8.  X-ray structure of perdeuterated diisopropyl fluorophosphatase (DFPase): perdeuteration of proteins for neutron diffraction 
The crystal structure of perdeuterated diisopropyl fluorophosphatase is reported and compared with the hydrogenated structure. Diffraction guidelines for neutron crystallography experiments are summarized.
The signal-to-noise ratio is one of the limiting factors in neutron macromolecular crystallography. Protein perdeuteration, which replaces all H atoms with deuterium, is a method of improving the signal-to-noise ratio of neutron crystallography experiments by reducing the incoherent scattering of the hydrogen isotope. Detailed analyses of perdeuterated and hydrogenated structures are necessary in order to evaluate the utility of perdeuterated crystals for neutron diffraction studies. The room-temperature X-ray structure of perdeuterated diisopropyl fluorophosphatase (DFPase) is reported at 2.1 Å resolution. Comparison with an independently refined hydrogenated room-temperature structure of DFPase revealed no major systematic differences, although the crystals of perdeuterated DFPase did not diffract neutrons. The lack of diffraction is examined with respect to data-collection and crystallo­graphic parameters. The diffraction characteristics of successful neutron structure determinations are presented as a guideline for future neutron diffraction studies of macromolecules. X-ray diffraction to beyond 2.0 Å resolution appears to be a strong predictor of successful neutron structures.
PMCID: PMC2852326  PMID: 20383004
diisopropyl fluorophosphatase; perdeuteration
9.  Time-of-flight neutron diffraction study of bovine γ-­chymotrypsin at the Protein Crystallography Station 
In order to begin an exact determination of hydrogen positions in proteins, a neutron diffraction study of bovine gamma-chymotrypsin has been conducted. This paper details the data collection of the protein at pD (pH*) 7.1.
The overarching goal of this research project is to determine, for a subset of proteins, exact hydrogen positions using neutron diffraction, thereby improving H-atom placement in proteins so that they may be better used in various computational methods that are critically dependent upon said placement. In order to be considered applicable for neutron diffraction studies, the protein of choice must be amenable to ultrahigh-resolution X-ray crystallography, be able to form large crystals (1 mm3 or greater) and have a modestly sized unit cell (no dimension longer than 100 Å). As such, γ-chymotrypsin is a perfect candidate for neutron diffraction. To understand and probe the role of specific active-site residues and hydrogen-bonding patterns in γ-chymotrypsin, neutron diffraction studies were initiated at the Protein Crystallography Station (PCS) at Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE). A large single crystal was subjected to H/D exchange prior to data collection. Time-of-flight neutron diffraction data were collected to 2.0 Å resolution at the PCS with ∼85% completeness. Here, the first time-of-flight neutron data collection from γ-­chymotrypsin is reported.
PMCID: PMC3087647  PMID: 21543868
neutron diffraction; γ-chymotrypsin
10.  Structure-Based Optimization of Inhibitors of the Aspartic Protease Endothiapepsin 
Aspartic proteases are a class of enzymes that play a causative role in numerous diseases such as malaria (plasmepsins), Alzheimer’s disease (β-secretase), fungal infections (secreted aspartic proteases), and hypertension (renin). We have chosen endothiapepsin as a model enzyme of this class of enzymes, for the design, preparation and biochemical evaluation of a new series of inhibitors of endothiapepsin. Here, we have optimized a hit, identified by de novo structure-based drug design (SBDD) and DCC, by using structure-based design approaches focusing on the optimization of an amide–π interaction. Biochemical results are in agreement with SBDD. These results will provide useful insights for future structure-based optimization of inhibitors for the real drug targets as well as insights into molecular recognition.
PMCID: PMC4581293  PMID: 26287174
inhibitors; aspartic protease endothiapepsin; structure-based drug design; molecular recognition
11.  Fragment‐Based Drug Design Facilitated by Protein‐Templated Click Chemistry: Fragment Linking and Optimization of Inhibitors of the Aspartic Protease Endothiapepsin 
There is an urgent need for the development of efficient methodologies that accelerate drug discovery. We demonstrate that the strategic combination of fragment linking/optimization and protein‐templated click chemistry is an efficient and powerful method that accelerates the hit‐identification process for the aspartic protease endothiapepsin. The best binder, which inhibits endothiapepsin with an IC50 value of 43 μm, represents the first example of triazole‐based inhibitors of endothiapepsin. Our strategy could find application on a whole range of drug targets.
PMCID: PMC5095814  PMID: 27604032
click chemistry; drug design; enzymes; inhibitors; liquid chromatography
12.  Large crystal growth by thermal control allows combined X-ray and neutron crystallographic studies to elucidate the protonation states in Aspergillus flavus urate oxidase 
Journal of the Royal Society Interface  2009;6(Suppl 5):S599-S610.
Urate oxidase (Uox) catalyses the oxidation of urate to allantoin and is used to reduce toxic urate accumulation during chemotherapy. X-ray structures of Uox with various inhibitors have been determined and yet the detailed catalytic mechanism remains unclear. Neutron crystallography can provide complementary information to that from X-ray studies and allows direct determination of the protonation states of the active-site residues and substrate analogues, provided that large, well-ordered deuterated crystals can be grown. Here, we describe a method and apparatus used to grow large crystals of Uox (Aspergillus flavus) with its substrate analogues 8-azaxanthine and 9-methyl urate, and with the natural substrate urate, in the presence and absence of cyanide. High-resolution X-ray (1.05–1.20 Å) and neutron diffraction data (1.9–2.5 Å) have been collected for the Uox complexes at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility and the Institut Laue-Langevin, respectively. In addition, room temperature X-ray data were also collected in preparation for joint X-ray and neutron refinement. Preliminary results indicate no major structural differences between crystals grown in H2O and D2O even though the crystallization process is affected. Moreover, initial nuclear scattering density maps reveal the proton positions clearly, eventually providing important information towards unravelling the mechanism of catalysis.
PMCID: PMC2843968  PMID: 19586953
urate oxidase; neutron and X-ray crystallography; crystal growth; phase diagram; H–D exchange; protonation states
13.  A preliminary neutron diffraction study of rasburicase, a recombinant urate oxidase enzyme, complexed with 8-azaxanthin 
Neutron diffraction data of hydrogenated recombinant urate oxidase enzyme (Rasburicase), complexed with a purine-type inhibitor 8-azaxanthin, was collected to 2.1 Å resolution from a crystal grown in D2O by careful control and optimization of crystallization conditions via knowledge of the phase diagram. Deuterium atoms were clearly seen in the neutron-scattering density map.
Crystallization and preliminary neutron diffraction measurements of rasburicase, a recombinant urate oxidase enzyme expressed by a genetically modified Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain, complexed with a purine-type inhibitor (8-­azaxanthin) are reported. Neutron Laue diffraction data were collected to 2.1 Å resolution using the LADI instrument from a crystal (grown in D2O) with volume 1.8 mm3. The aim of this neutron diffraction study is to determine the protonation states of the inhibitor and residues within the active site. This will lead to improved comprehension of the enzymatic mechanism of this important enzyme, which is used as a protein drug to reduce toxic uric acid accumulation during chemotherapy. This paper illustrates the high quality of the neutron diffraction data collected, which are suitable for high-resolution structural analysis. In comparison with other neutron protein crystallography studies to date in which a hydrogenated protein has been used, the volume of the crystal was relatively small and yet the data still extend to high resolution. Furthermore, urate oxidase has one of the largest primitive unit-cell volumes (space group I222, unit-cell parameters a = 80, b = 96, c = 106 Å) and molecular weights (135 kDa for the homotetramer) so far successfully studied with neutrons.
PMCID: PMC2197182  PMID: 16511330
urate oxidase; heavy water; phase diagram; neutron Laue diffraction
14.  Crystallization of porcine pancreatic elastase and a preliminary neutron diffraction experiment 
To investigate the structural characteristics of a covalent inhibitor bound to porcine pancreatic elastase (PPE), including H atoms and hydration by water, a crystal of porcine pancreatic elastase with its inhibitor was grown to a size of 1.6 mm3 for neutron diffraction study. The crystal diffracted to 2.3 Å resolution with sufficient quality for further structure determination owing to the similar atomic scattering properties of deuterium and carbon.
Porcine pancreatic elastase (PPE) resembles the attractive drug target leukocyte elastase, which has been implicated in a number of inflammatory disorders. In order to investigate the structural characteristics of a covalent inhibitor bound to PPE, including H atoms and the hydration by water, a single crystal of PPE for neutron diffraction study was grown in D2O containing 0.2 M sodium sulfate (pD 5.0) using the sitting-drop vapour-diffusion method. The crystal was grown to a size of 1.6 mm3 by repeated macroseeding. Neutron diffraction data were collected at room temperature using a BIX-3 diffractometer at the JRR-3 research reactor of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA). The data set was integrated and scaled to 2.3 Å resolution in space group P212121, with unit-cell parameters a = 51.2, b = 57.8, c = 75.6 Å.
PMCID: PMC2330211  PMID: 17401204
porcine pancreatic elastase; neutron diffraction
15.  Hirshfeld atom refinement 
IUCrJ  2014;1(Pt 5):361-379.
The new automated iterative Hirshfeld atom refinement method is explained and validated through comparison of structural models of Gly–l-Ala obtained from synchrotron X-ray and neutron diffraction data at 12, 50, 150 and 295 K. Structural parameters involving hydrogen atoms are determined with comparable precision from both experiments and agree mostly to within two combined standard uncertainties.
Hirshfeld atom refinement (HAR) is a method which determines structural parameters from single-crystal X-ray diffraction data by using an aspherical atom partitioning of tailor-made ab initio quantum mechanical molecular electron densities without any further approximation. Here the original HAR method is extended by implementing an iterative procedure of successive cycles of electron density calculations, Hirshfeld atom scattering factor calculations and structural least-squares refinements, repeated until convergence. The importance of this iterative procedure is illustrated via the example of crystalline ammonia. The new HAR method is then applied to X-ray diffraction data of the dipeptide Gly–l-Ala measured at 12, 50, 100, 150, 220 and 295 K, using Hartree–Fock and BLYP density functional theory electron densities and three different basis sets. All positions and anisotropic displacement parameters (ADPs) are freely refined without constraints or restraints – even those for hydrogen atoms. The results are systematically compared with those from neutron diffraction experiments at the temperatures 12, 50, 150 and 295 K. Although non-hydrogen-atom ADPs differ by up to three combined standard uncertainties (csu’s), all other structural parameters agree within less than 2 csu’s. Using our best calculations (BLYP/cc-pVTZ, recommended for organic molecules), the accuracy of determining bond lengths involving hydrogen atoms from HAR is better than 0.009 Å for temperatures of 150 K or below; for hydrogen-atom ADPs it is better than 0.006 Å2 as judged from the mean absolute X-ray minus neutron differences. These results are among the best ever obtained. Remarkably, the precision of determining bond lengths and ADPs for the hydrogen atoms from the HAR procedure is comparable with that from the neutron measurements – an outcome which is obtained with a routinely achievable resolution of the X-ray data of 0.65 Å.
PMCID: PMC4174878  PMID: 25295177
aspherical atom partitioning; quantum mechanical molecular electron densities; X-ray structure refinement; hydrogen atom modelling; anisotropic displacement parameters
16.  Crystallization and preliminary neutron diffraction studies of ADP-ribose pyrophosphatase-I from Thermus thermophilus HB8 
ADP-ribose pyrophosphatase-I, a Nudix enzyme, from T. thermophilus was crystallized for neutron diffraction. Neutron and X-ray diffraction data sets were collected to 2.1 and 1.5 Å resolution, respectively.
ADP-ribose pyrophosphatase-I from Thermus thermophilus HB8 (TtADPRase-I) prevents the intracellular accumulation of ADP-ribose by hydrolyzing it to AMP and ribose 5′-phosphate. To understand the catalytic mechanism of TtADPRase-I, it is necessary to investigate the role of glutamates and metal ions as well as the coordination of water molecules located at the active site. A macroseeding method was developed in order to obtain a large TtADPRase-I crystal which was suitable for a neutron diffraction study to provide structural information. Neutron and X-ray diffraction experiments were performed at room temperature using the same crystal. The crystal diffracted to 2.1 and 1.5 Å resolution in the neutron and X-ray diffraction experiments, respectively. The crystal belonged to the primitive space group P3221, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 50.7, c = 119 Å.
PMCID: PMC3253833  PMID: 22232170
ADP-ribose pyrophosphatase; Ndx4; neutron diffraction; Thermus thermophilus
17.  Crystallization and preliminary neutron diffraction studies of HIV-1 protease cocrystallized with inhibitor KNI-272 
In order to determine the protonation states of the residues within the active site of an HIV-1 protease–inhibitor complex, a crystal of HIV-1 protease complexed with inhibitor (KNI-272) was grown to a size of 1.4 mm3 for neutron diffraction study. The crystal diffracted to 2.3 Å resolution with sufficient quality for further structure determination.
This paper reports the crystallization and preliminary neutron diffraction measurements of HIV-1 protease, a potential target for anti-HIV therapy, complexed with an inhibitor (KNI-272). The aim of this neutron diffraction study is to obtain structural information about the H atoms and to determine the protonation states of the residues within the active site. The crystal was grown to a size of 1.4 mm3 by repeated macroseeding and a slow-cooling method using a two-liquid system. Neutron diffraction data were collected at room temperature using a BIX-4 diffractometer at the JRR-3 research reactor of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA). The data set was integrated and scaled to 2.3 Å resolution in space group P21212, with unit-cell parameters a = 59.5, b = 87.4, c = 46.8 Å.
PMCID: PMC2581681  PMID: 18997326
HIV-1 protease; inhibitors; neutron diffraction
18.  Yes, one can obtain better quality structures from routine X-ray data collection 
IUCrJ  2016;3(Pt 1):61-70.
Single-crystal X-ray diffraction data should be collected to the highest resolution as this allows for refinement of more reliable structural, thermal and dependent parameters. The results of refinements using a Transferable Aspherical Atomic Model of electron density (TAAM) appear to be in far better agreement with neutron results than the corresponding Independent Atom Model (IAM) results for all parameters, all resolutions and all compounds, and we advocate the use of this approach instead of IAM.
Single-crystal X-ray diffraction structural results for benzidine dihydrochloride, hydrated and protonated N,N,N,N-peri(dimethylamino)naphthalene chloride, triptycene, dichlorodimethyltriptycene and decamethylferrocene have been analysed. A critical discussion of the dependence of structural and thermal parameters on resolution for these compounds is presented. Results of refinements against X-ray data, cut off to different resolutions from the high-resolution data files, are compared to structural models derived from neutron diffraction experiments. The Independent Atom Model (IAM) and the Transferable Aspherical Atom Model (TAAM) are tested. The average differences between the X-ray and neutron structural parameters (with the exception of valence angles defined by H atoms) decrease with the increasing 2θmax angle. The scale of differences between X-ray and neutron geometrical parameters can be significantly reduced when data are collected to the higher, than commonly used, 2θmax diffraction angles (for Mo Kα 2θmax > 65°). The final structural and thermal parameters obtained for the studied compounds using TAAM refinement are in better agreement with the neutron values than the IAM results for all resolutions and all compounds. By using TAAM, it is still possible to obtain accurate results even from low-resolution X-ray data. This is particularly important as TAAM is easy to apply and can routinely be used to improve the quality of structural investigations [Dominiak (2015 ▸). LSDB from UBDB. University of Buffalo, USA]. We can recommend that, in order to obtain more adequate (more accurate and precise) structural and displacement parameters during the IAM model refinement, data should be collected up to the larger diffraction angles, at least, for Mo Kα radiation to 2θmax = 65° (sin θmax/λ < 0.75 Å−1). The TAAM approach is a very good option to obtain more adequate results even using data collected to the lower 2θmax angles. Also the results of translation–libration–screw (TLS) analysis and vibrational entropy values are more reliable for 2θmax > 65°.
PMCID: PMC4704080  PMID: 26870382
X-ray diffraction results; precision; independent atom model; transferable aspherical atom model; geometric parameters; TLS analysis
19.  Preliminary joint X-ray and neutron protein crystallographic studies of ecDHFR complexed with folate and NADP+  
A 2.0 Å resolution neutron data set and a 1.6 Å resolution X-ray data set were collected for joint X-ray/neutron refinement of the ecDHFR–folate–NADP+ complex in order to study the reaction mechanism of dihydrofolate reductase.
A crystal of Escherichia coli dihydrofolate reductase (ecDHFR) complexed with folate and NADP+ of 4 × 1.3 × 0.7 mm (3.6 mm3) in size was obtained by sequential application of microseeding and macroseeding. A neutron diffraction data set was collected to 2.0 Å resolution using the IMAGINE diffractometer at the High Flux Isotope Reactor within Oak Ridge National Laboratory. A 1.6 Å resolution X-ray data set was also collected from a smaller crystal at room temperature. The neutron and X-ray data were used together for joint refinement of the ecDHFR–folate–NADP+ ternary-complex structure in order to examine the protonation state, protein dynamics and solvent structure of the complex, furthering understanding of the catalytic mechanism.
PMCID: PMC4051544  PMID: 24915100
Escherichia coli; dihydrofolate reductase; protonation state
20.  Preliminary neutron and X-ray crystallographic studies of equine cyanomethemoglobin 
Equine cyanomethemoglobin has been crystallized and X-ray and neutron diffraction data have been measured. Joint X-ray–neutron refinement is under way; the structural results should help to elucidate the differences between the hemoglobin R and T states.
Room-temperature and 100 K X-ray and room-temperature neutron diffraction data have been measured from equine cyanomethemoglobin to 1.7 Å resolution using a home source, to 1.6 Å resolution on NE-CAT at the Advanced Photon Source and to 2.0 Å resolution on the PCS at Los Alamos Neutron Science Center, respectively. The cyanomethemoglobin is in the R state and preliminary room-temperature electron and neutron scattering density maps clearly show the protonation states of potential Bohr groups. Interestingly, a water molecule that is in the vicinity of the heme group and coordinated to the distal histidine appears to be expelled from this site in the low-temperature structure.
PMCID: PMC2852348  PMID: 20383026
equine hemoglobin; time-of-flight neutron diffraction; R state; joint XN refinement; protonation
21.  A high-transparency, micro-patternable chip for X-ray diffraction analysis of microcrystals under native growth conditions 
A highly X-ray-transparent, silicon nitride-based device has been designed and fabricated to harvest protein microcrystals for high-resolution X-ray diffraction data collection using microfocus beamlines and XFELs.
Microcrystals present a significant impediment to the determination of macromolecular structures by X-ray diffraction methods. Although microfocus synchrotron beamlines and X-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs) can enable the collection of interpretable diffraction data from microcrystals, there is a need for efficient methods of harvesting small volumes (<2 µl) of microcrystals grown under common laboratory formats and delivering them to an X-ray beam source under native growth conditions. One approach that shows promise in overcoming the challenges intrinsic to microcrystal analysis is to pair so-called ‘fixed-target’ sample-delivery devices with microbeam-based X-ray diffraction methods. However, to record weak diffraction patterns it is necessary to fabricate devices from X-ray-transparent materials that minimize background scattering. Presented here is the design of a new micro-diffraction device consisting of three layers fabricated from silicon nitride, photoresist and polyimide film. The chip features low X-ray scattering and X-ray absorption properties, and uses a customizable blend of hydrophobic and hydrophilic surface patterns to help localize microcrystals to defined regions. Microcrystals in their native growth conditions can be loaded into the chips with a standard pipette, allowing data collection at room temperature. Diffraction data collected from hen egg-white lysozyme microcrystals (10–15 µm) loaded into the chips yielded a complete, high-resolution (<1.6 Å) data set sufficient to determine a high-quality structure by molecular replacement. The features of the chip allow the rapid and user-friendly analysis of microcrystals grown under virtually any laboratory format at microfocus synchrotron beamlines and XFELs.
PMCID: PMC4601365  PMID: 26457423
microcrystals; silicon nitride; serial data collection; XFEL; microfocus beamline; X-ray crystallography; microfluidics
22.  On the temperature dependence of H-U iso in the riding hydrogen model 
The temperature dependence of hydrogen U iso and parent U eq in the riding hydrogen model is investigated by neutron diffraction, aspherical-atom refinements and QM/MM and MO/MO cluster calculations. Fixed values of 1.2 or 1.5 appear to be underestimated, especially at temperatures below 100 K.
The temperature dependence of H-U iso in N-acetyl-l-4-hydroxyproline monohydrate is investigated. Imposing a constant temperature-independent multiplier of 1.2 or 1.5 for the riding hydrogen model is found to be inaccurate, and severely underestimates H-U iso below 100 K. Neutron diffraction data at temperatures of 9, 150, 200 and 250 K provide benchmark results for this study. X-ray diffraction data to high resolution, collected at temperatures of 9, 30, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200 and 250 K (synchrotron and home source), reproduce neutron results only when evaluated by aspherical-atom refinement models, since these take into account bonding and lone-pair electron density; both invariom and Hirshfeld-atom refinement models enable a more precise determination of the magnitude of H-atom displacements than independent-atom model refinements. Experimental efforts are complemented by computing displacement parameters following the TLS+ONIOM approach. A satisfactory agreement between all approaches is found.
PMCID: PMC4075069  PMID: 25970187
riding hydrogen model; QM/MM computations; neutron diffraction; invariom refinement; Hirshfeld-atom refinement; synchrotron radiation
23.  Preliminary joint X-ray and neutron protein crystallographic studies of endoxylanase II from the fungus Trichoderma longibrachiatum  
A fungal family 11 endoxylanase has been crystallized at pH 8.5 and room-temperature X-ray and neutron diffraction data have been collected. Joint X-ray/neutron refinement is under way; the structural results will aid in rational engineering of the enzyme.
Room-temperature X-ray and neutron diffraction data were measured from a family 11 endoxylanase holoenzyme (XynII) originating from the filamentous fungus Trichoderma longibrachiatum to 1.55 Å resolution using a home source and to 1.80 Å resolution using the Protein Crystallography Station at LANSCE. Crystals of XynII, which is an important enzyme for biofuel production, were grown at pH 8.5 in order to examine the effect of basic conditions on the protonation-state distribution in the active site and throughout the protein molecule and to provide insights for rational engineering of catalytically improved XynII for industrial applications.
PMCID: PMC3034629  PMID: 21301107
biofuels; glycosidic enzymes; endoxylanases; joint X-ray/neutron crystallography; catalytic mechanism; protonation
24.  Room-temperature macromolecular serial crystallography using synchrotron radiation 
IUCrJ  2014;1(Pt 4):204-212.
The room-temperature structure of lysozyme is determined using 40000 individual diffraction patterns from micro-crystals flowing in liquid suspension across a synchrotron microfocus beamline.
A new approach for collecting data from many hundreds of thousands of microcrystals using X-ray pulses from a free-electron laser has recently been developed. Referred to as serial crystallography, diffraction patterns are recorded at a constant rate as a suspension of protein crystals flows across the path of an X-ray beam. Events that by chance contain single-crystal diffraction patterns are retained, then indexed and merged to form a three-dimensional set of reflection intensities for structure determination. This approach relies upon several innovations: an intense X-ray beam; a fast detector system; a means to rapidly flow a suspension of crystals across the X-ray beam; and the computational infrastructure to process the large volume of data. Originally conceived for radiation-damage-free measurements with ultrafast X-ray pulses, the same methods can be employed with synchrotron radiation. As in powder diffraction, the averaging of thousands of observations per Bragg peak may improve the ratio of signal to noise of low-dose exposures. Here, it is shown that this paradigm can be implemented for room-temperature data collection using synchrotron radiation and exposure times of less than 3 ms. Using lysozyme microcrystals as a model system, over 40 000 single-crystal diffraction patterns were obtained and merged to produce a structural model that could be refined to 2.1 Å resolution. The resulting electron density is in excellent agreement with that obtained using standard X-ray data collection techniques. With further improvements the method is well suited for even shorter exposures at future and upgraded synchrotron radiation facilities that may deliver beams with 1000 times higher brightness than they currently produce.
PMCID: PMC4107920  PMID: 25075341
serial crystallography; room-temperature protein crystallography; radiation damage; CrystFEL; microfocus beamline
25.  X-CHIP: an integrated platform for high-throughput protein crystallization and on-the-chip X-ray diffraction data collection 
The X-CHIP (X-ray Crystallography High-throughput Integrated Platform) is a novel microchip that has been developed to combine multiple steps of the crystallographic pipeline from crystallization to diffraction data collection on a single device to streamline the entire process.
The X-CHIP (X-ray Crystallization High-throughput Integrated Platform) is a novel microchip that has been developed to combine multiple steps of the crystallographic pipeline from crystallization to diffraction data collection on a single device to streamline the entire process. The system has been designed for crystallization condition screening, visual crystal inspection, initial X-ray screening and data collection in a high-throughput fashion. X-ray diffraction data acquisition can be performed directly on-the-chip at room temperature using an in situ approach. The capabilities of the chip eliminate the necessity for manual crystal handling and cryoprotection of crystal samples, while allowing data collection from multiple crystals in the same drop. This technology would be especially beneficial for projects with large volumes of data, such as protein-complex studies and fragment-based screening. The platform employs hydrophilic and hydrophobic concentric ring surfaces on a miniature plate transparent to visible light and X-rays to create a well defined and stable microbatch crystallization environment. The results of crystallization and data-collection experiments demonstrate that high-quality well diffracting crystals can be grown and high-resolution diffraction data sets can be collected using this technology. Furthermore, the quality of a single-wavelength anomalous dispersion data set collected with the X-CHIP at room temperature was sufficient to generate interpretable electron-density maps. This technology is highly resource-efficient owing to the use of nanolitre-scale drop volumes. It does not require any modification for most in-house and synchrotron beamline systems and offers a promising opportunity for full automation of the X-ray structure-determination process.
PMCID: PMC3107051  PMID: 21636893
protein crystallization devices; in situ X-ray analysis; crystallization; crystal visual inspection; diffraction data collection

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