Barriers of activation within the photocycle of a photoactive protein were extracted from comprehensive time courses of time resolved crystallographic data collected at multiple temperature settings.
Free-energy landscapes decisively determine the progress of enzymatically catalyzed reactions [Cornish-Bowden (2012 ▶), Fundamentals of Enzyme Kinetics, 4th ed.]. Time-resolved macromolecular crystallography unifies transient-state kinetics with structure determination [Moffat (2001 ▶), Chem. Rev.
101, 1569–1581; Schmidt et al. (2005 ▶), Methods Mol. Biol.
305, 115–154; Schmidt (2008 ▶), Ultrashort Laser Pulses in Medicine and Biology] because both can be determined from the same set of X-ray data. Here, it is demonstrated how barriers of activation can be determined solely from five-dimensional crystallography, where in addition to space and time, temperature is a variable as well [Schmidt et al. (2010 ▶), Acta Cryst. A66, 198–206]. Directly linking molecular structures with barriers of activation between them allows insight into the structural nature of the barrier to be gained. Comprehensive time series of crystallographic data at 14 different temperature settings were analyzed and the entropy and enthalpy contributions to the barriers of activation were determined. One hundred years after the discovery of X-ray scattering, these results advance X-ray structure determination to a new frontier: the determination of energy landscapes.
five-dimensional crystallography; time-resolved crystallography; time-resolved microspectrophotometry; chemical kinetics; photoactive yellow protein
The recently completed commissioning of an upgraded undulator-based beamline at BioCARS, a national user facility for macromolecular time-resolved X-ray crystallography at the Advanced Photon Source, is described.
BioCARS, a NIH-supported national user facility for macromolecular time-resolved X-ray crystallography at the Advanced Photon Source (APS), has recently completed commissioning of an upgraded undulator-based beamline optimized for single-shot laser-pump X-ray-probe measurements with time resolution as short as 100 ps. The source consists of two in-line undulators with periods of 23 and 27 mm that together provide high-flux pink-beam capability at 12 keV as well as first-harmonic coverage from 6.8 to 19 keV. A high-heat-load chopper reduces the average power load on downstream components, thereby preserving the surface figure of a Kirkpatrick–Baez mirror system capable of focusing the X-ray beam to a spot size of 90 µm horizontal by 20 µm vertical. A high-speed chopper isolates single X-ray pulses at 1 kHz in both hybrid and 24-bunch modes of the APS storage ring. In hybrid mode each isolated X-ray pulse delivers up to ∼4 × 1010 photons to the sample, thereby achieving a time-averaged flux approaching that of fourth-generation X-FEL sources. A new high-power picosecond laser system delivers pulses tunable over the wavelength range 450–2000 nm. These pulses are synchronized to the storage-ring RF clock with long-term stability better than 10 ps RMS. Monochromatic experimental capability with Biosafety Level 3 certification has been retained.
synchrotron beamline; Laue crystallography; time-resolved crystallography; X-ray optics
Below 195 K the bacteriorhodopsin photocycle could not be adequately described with exponential kinetics, but required distributed kinetics, previously found in hemoglobin and myoglobin at temperatures below the vitrification point of the surrounding solvent. The aim of this study is to explore which factors cause the switch from this low-temperature regime to the conventional kinetics observed at ambient temperature. The photocycle was monitored by time-resolved FTIR between 180 and 280 K, using the D96N mutant. Depending on the temperature, decay and temporal redistribution of two or three intermediates (L, M, and N) were observed. Above ∼245 K an abrupt change in the kinetic behavior of the photocycle takes place. It does not affect the intermediates present but greatly accelerates their decay. Below ∼240 K a kinetic pattern with partial decay not explainable by conventional kinetics, but suggesting distributed kinetics, was dominant, while above ∼250 K there were no significant deviations from exponential behavior. The ∼245 K critical point is ≥10 K below the freezing point of interbilayer water, and we were unable to correlate it with any FTIR-detectable transition of the lipids. Therefore, we attribute the change from distributed to conventional kinetics to a thermodynamic phase transition in the protein. Most probably, it is related to the freezing/thawing of internal fluctuations of the protein, known as the dynamic phase transition, although in bacteriorhodopsin the latter is usually believed to take place at least 15 K below the observed critical temperature of ∼245 K.
Trans-to-cis isomerization, the key reaction in photoactive proteins, cannot usually occur through the standard one-bond-flip mechanism. Due to spatial constraints imposed by a protein environment, isomerization is likely to proceed via a “volume-conserving” mechanism in which highly-choreographed atomic motions are expected, the details of which have not yet been directly observed. Here we employ time-resolved X-ray crystallography to structurally visualize isomerization of the p-coumaric acid chromophore in photoactive yellow protein with 100 picosecond time resolution and 1.6 Å spatial resolution. The structure of the earliest intermediate (IT) resembles a highly-strained transition state in which the torsion angle is located halfway between the trans and cis isomers. The reaction trajectory of IT bifurcates into two structurally distinct cis intermediates via hula-twist and bicycle-pedal pathways. The bifurcating reaction pathways can be controlled by weakening the hydrogen bond between the chromophore and an adjacent residue via E46Q mutation, which switches off the bicycle-pedal pathway.
The effect of the X-ray dose on room-temperature time-resolved Laue data is discussed.
Protein X-ray structures are determined with ionizing radiation that damages the protein at high X-ray doses. As a result, diffraction patterns deteriorate with the increased absorbed dose. Several strategies such as sample freezing or scavenging of X-ray-generated free radicals are currently employed to minimize this damage. However, little is known about how the absorbed X-ray dose affects time-resolved Laue data collected at physiological temperatures where the protein is fully functional in the crystal, and how the kinetic analysis of such data depends on the absorbed dose. Here, direct evidence for the impact of radiation damage on the function of a protein is presented using time-resolved macromolecular crystallography. The effect of radiation damage on the kinetic analysis of time-resolved X-ray data is also explored.
radiation damage; X-ray dose; room temperature; time-resolved crystallography; Laue crystallography
The improvement of the X-ray beam quality achieved on ID14-4 by the installation of new X-ray optical elements is described.
ID14-4 at the ESRF is the first tunable undulator-based macromolecular crystallography beamline that can celebrate a decade of user service. During this time ID14-4 has not only been instrumental in the determination of the structures of biologically important molecules but has also contributed significantly to the development of various instruments, novel data collection schemes and pioneering radiation damage studies on biological samples. Here, the evolution of ID14-4 over the last decade is presented, and some of the major improvements that were carried out in order to maintain its status as one of the most productive macromolecular crystallography beamlines are highlighted. The experimental hutch has been upgraded to accommodate a high-precision diffractometer, a sample changer and a large CCD detector. More recently, the optical hutch has been refurbished in order to improve the X-ray beam quality on ID14-4 and to incorporate the most modern and robust optical elements used at other ESRF beamlines. These new optical elements will be described and their effect on beam stability discussed. These studies may be useful in the design, construction and maintenance of future X-ray beamlines for macromolecular crystallography and indeed other applications, such as those planned for the ESRF upgrade.
macromolecular crystallography; X-ray beam quality; beamline diagnostics; beamline automation
The dynamical behaviour of crystalline macromolecules and their surrounding solvent as a function of cryo-temperature is reviewed.
X-ray crystallography provides structural details of biological macromolecules. Whereas routine data are collected close to 100 K in order to mitigate radiation damage, more exotic temperature-controlled experiments in a broader temperature range from 15 K to room temperature can provide both dynamical and structural insights. Here, the dynamical behaviour of crystalline macromolecules and their surrounding solvent as a function of cryo-temperature is reviewed. Experimental strategies of kinetic crystallography are discussed that have allowed the generation and trapping of macromolecular intermediate states by combining reaction initiation in the crystalline state with appropriate temperature profiles. A particular focus is on recruiting X-ray-induced changes for reaction initiation, thus unveiling useful aspects of radiation damage, which otherwise has to be minimized in macromolecular crystallography.
temperature-dependent macromolecular crystallography
The ultimate goal of synchrotron data collection is to obtain the best possible data from the best available crystals, and the combination of automation and remote access at Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) has revolutionized the way in which scientists achieve this goal. This has also seen a change in the way novice crystallographers are trained in the use of the beamlines, and a wide range of remote tools and hands-on workshops are now offered by SSRL to facilitate the education of the next generation of protein crystallographers.
For the past five years, the Structural Molecular Biology group at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) has provided general users of the facility with fully remote access to the macromolecular crystallography beamlines. This was made possible by implementing fully automated beamlines with a flexible control system and an intuitive user interface, and by the development of the robust and efficient Stanford automated mounting robotic sample-changing system. The ability to control a synchrotron beamline remotely from the comfort of the home laboratory has set a new paradigm for the collection of high-quality X-ray diffraction data and has fostered new collaborative research, whereby a number of remote users from different institutions can be connected at the same time to the SSRL beamlines. The use of remote access has revolutionized the way in which scientists interact with synchrotron beamlines and collect diffraction data, and has also triggered a shift in the way crystallography students are introduced to synchrotron data collection and trained in the best methods for collecting high-quality data. SSRL provides expert crystallographic and engineering staff, state-of-the-art crystallography beamlines, and a number of accessible tools to facilitate data collection and in-house remote training, and encourages the use of these facilities for education, training, outreach and collaborative research.
protein crystallography; high-throughput screening; robotics; remote access; crystallographic education and training; outreach
The PHENIX software for macromolecular structure determination is described.
Macromolecular X-ray crystallography is routinely applied to understand biological processes at a molecular level. However, significant time and effort are still required to solve and complete many of these structures because of the need for manual interpretation of complex numerical data using many software packages and the repeated use of interactive three-dimensional graphics. PHENIX has been developed to provide a comprehensive system for macromolecular crystallographic structure solution with an emphasis on the automation of all procedures. This has relied on the development of algorithms that minimize or eliminate subjective input, the development of algorithms that automate procedures that are traditionally performed by hand and, finally, the development of a framework that allows a tight integration between the algorithms.
PHENIX; Python; macromolecular crystallography; algorithms
X-ray crystallography is a critical tool in the study of biological systems. It is able to provide information that has been a prerequisite to understanding the fundamentals of life. It is also a method that is central to the development of new therapeutics for human disease. Significant time and effort are required to determine and optimize many macromolecular structures because of the need for manual interpretation of complex numerical data, often using many different software packages, and the repeated use of interactive three-dimensional graphics. The Phenix software package has been developed to provide a comprehensive system for macromolecular crystallographic structure solution with an emphasis on automation. This has required the development of new algorithms that minimize or eliminate subjective input in favour of built-in expert-systems knowledge, the automation of procedures that are traditionally performed by hand, and the development of a computational framework that allows a tight integration between the algorithms. The application of automated methods is particularly appropriate in the field of structural proteomics, where high throughput is desired. Features in Phenix for the automation of experimental phasing with subsequent model building, molecular replacement, structure refinement and validation are described and examples given of running Phenix from both the command line and graphical user interface.
Macromolecular Crystallography; Automation; Phenix; X-ray; Diffraction; Python
A systematic approach to the scaling and merging of data from multiple crystals in macromolecular crystallography is introduced and explained.
The availability of intense microbeam macromolecular crystallography beamlines at third-generation synchrotron sources has enabled data collection and structure solution from microcrystals of <10 µm in size. The increased likelihood of severe radiation damage where microcrystals or particularly sensitive crystals are used forces crystallographers to acquire large numbers of data sets from many crystals of the same protein structure. The associated analysis and merging of multi-crystal data is currently a manual and time-consuming step. Here, a computer program, BLEND, that has been written to assist with and automate many of the steps in this process is described. It is demonstrated how BLEND has successfully been used in the solution of a novel membrane protein.
clustering; multiple crystals; BLEND; scaling; merging; multi-crystal data sets
The Protein Crystallography Station user facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory not only offers open access to a high-performance neutron beamline, but also actively supports and develops new methods in protein expression, deuteration, purification, robotic crystallization and the synthesis of substrates with stable isotopes and provides assistance with data-reduction and structure-refinement software and comprehensive neutron structure analysis.
The Protein Crystallography Station (PCS) at Los Alamos Neutron Science Center is a high-performance beamline that forms the core of a capability for neutron macromolecular structure and function determination. Neutron diffraction is a powerful technique for locating H atoms and can therefore provide unique information about how biological macromolecules function and interact with each other and smaller molecules. Users of the PCS have access to neutron beam time, deuteration facilities, the expression of proteins and the synthesis of substrates with stable isotopes and also support for data reduction and structure analysis. The beamline exploits the pulsed nature of spallation neutrons and a large electronic detector in order to collect wavelength-resolved Laue patterns using all available neutrons in the white beam. The PCS user facility is described and highlights from the user program are presented.
Protein Crystallography Station; neutron macromolecular crystallography; spallation neutron sources; deuteration; user support
Myoglobin, a small globular heme protein that binds gaseous ligands such asO2, CO and NO reversibly at the heme iron, provides an excellent modelsystem for studying structural and dynamic aspects of protein reactions. Flashphotolysis experiments, performed over wide ranges in time and temperature, reveal a complex ligand binding reaction with multiple kinetic intermediates, resulting from protein relaxation and movements of the ligand within the protein. Our recent studies of carbonmonoxy-myoglobin (MbCO) mutant L29W, using time-resolved infrared spectroscopy in combination with x-ray crystallography, have correlated kinetic intermediates with photoproduct structures that are characterized by the CO residing in different internal protein cavities, so-called xenon holes. Here we have used Fourier transform infrared temperature derivative spectroscopy (FTIR-TDS) to further examine the role of internal cavities in the dynamics. Different cavities can be accessed by the CO ligands at different temperatures, and characteristic infrared absorption spectra have been obtained for the different locations of the CO ligand within the protein, enabling us to monitor ligand migration through the protein as well as conformational changes of the protein.
FTIR spectroscopy; ligand binding; myoglobin; temperature derivative spectroscopy
Photoactive Yellow Protein (PYP), a phototaxis photoreceptor from Ectothiorhodospira halophila, is a small water-soluble protein that iscrystallisable and excellently photo-stable. It can be activated with light(λmax= 446 nm), to enter a series of transientintermediates that jointly form the photocycle of this photosensor protein.The most stable of these transient states is the signalling state forphototaxis, pB.The spatial structure of the ground state of PYP, pG and the spectralproperties of the photocycle intermediates have been very well resolved.Owing to its excellent chemical- and photochemical stability, also the spatialstructure of its photocycle intermediates has been characterised with X-raydiffraction and multinuclear NMR spectroscopy. Surprisingly, the resultsobtained showed that their structure is dependent on the molecular contextin which they are formed. Therefore, a large range of diffraction-,scattering- and spectroscopic techniques is now being employed to resolvein detail the dynamical changes of the structure of PYP while it progressesthrough its photocycle. This approach has led to considerable progress,although some techniques still result in mutually inconsistent conclusionsregarding aspects of the structure of particular intermediates.Recently, significant progress has also been made with simulations withmolecular dynamics analyses of the initial events that occur in PYP uponphoto activation. The great challenge in this field is to eventually obtainagreement between predicted dynamical alterations in PYP structure, asobtained with the MD approach and the actually measured dynamicalchanges in its structure as evolving during photocycle progression.
4-hydroxy-cinnamic acid; contact dependence; hysteresis; photoactive yellow protein; photo-isomerisation; polarization spectroscopy; protein dynamics; time-resolved X-ray diffraction; time-resolved FTIR spectroscopy; transient intermediates
A fast, user-friendly and easily extensible beamline-control system based on a combination of Java Eclipse RCP and EPICS and featuring a user interface similar to that of the SSRL BluIce has been developed at the GM/CA-CAT macromolecular crystallography beamlines in Sector 23 of the Advanced Photon Source.
The trio of macromolecular crystallography beamlines constructed by the General Medicine and Cancer Institutes Collaborative Access Team (GM/CA-CAT) in Sector 23 of the Advanced Photon Source (APS) have been in growing demand owing to their outstanding beam quality and capacity to measure data from crystals of only a few micrometres in size. To take full advantage of the state-of-the-art mechanical and optical design of these beamlines, a significant effort has been devoted to designing fast, convenient, intuitive and robust beamline controls that could easily accommodate new beamline developments. The GM/CA-CAT beamline controls are based on the power of EPICS for distributed hardware control, the rich Java graphical user interface of Eclipse RCP and the task-oriented philosophy as well as the look and feel of the successful SSRL BluIce graphical user interface for crystallography. These beamline controls feature a minimum number of software layers, the wide use of plug-ins that can be written in any language and unified motion controls that allow on-the-fly scanning and optimization of any beamline component. This paper describes the ways in which BluIce was combined with EPICS and converted into the Java-based JBluIce, discusses the solutions aimed at streamlining and speeding up operations and gives an overview of the tools that are provided by this new open-source control system for facilitating crystallographic experiments, especially in the field of microcrystallography.
macromolecular crystallography; beamline automation; data acquisition; high-throughput crystallography
The new version MS2 of the in situ on-axis micro-spectrophotometer at the macromolecular crystallography beamline X10SA of the Swiss Light Source supports the concurrent acquisition of Raman, resonance Raman, fluorescence and UV/Vis absorption spectra along with diffraction data.
The combination of X-ray diffraction experiments with optical methods such as Raman, UV/Vis absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy greatly enhances and complements the specificity of the obtained information. The upgraded version of the in situ on-axis micro-spectrophotometer, MS2, at the macromolecular crystallography beamline X10SA of the Swiss Light Source is presented. The instrument newly supports Raman and resonance Raman spectroscopy, in addition to the previously available UV/Vis absorption and fluorescence modes. With the recent upgrades of the spectral bandwidth, instrument stability, detection efficiency and control software, the application range of the instrument and its ease of operation were greatly improved. Its on-axis geometry with collinear X-ray and optical axes to ensure optimal control of the overlap of sample volumes probed by each technique is still unique amongst comparable facilities worldwide and the instrument has now been in general user operation for over two years.
macromolecular crystallography; single-crystal spectroscopy; micro-spectrophotometry; complementary techniques; Raman spectroscopy
The folding mechanism of the β-sheet protein CspA, the major cold shock protein of Escherichia coli, was previously reported to be a concerted, two-state process. We have reexamined the folding of CspA using multiple spectroscopic probes of the equilibrium transition and laser-induced temperature jump (T-jump) to achieve better time resolution of the kinetics. Equilibrium temperature-dependent Fourier transform infrared (1634 cm–1) and tryptophan fluorescence measurements reveal probe-dependent thermal transitions with midpoints (Tm) of 66 ± 1 and 61 ± 1 °C, respectively. Singular-value decomposition analysis with global fitting of the temperature-dependent infrared (IR) difference spectra reveals two spectral components with distinct melting transitions with different midpoints. T-Jump relaxation measurements of CspA probed by IR and fluorescence spectroscopy show probe-dependent multiexponential kinetics characteristic of non-two-state folding. The frequency-dependent IR transients all show biphasic relaxation with average time constants of 50 ± 7 and 225 ± 25 μs at a Tf of 77 °C and almost equal amplitudes. Similar biphasic kinetics are observed using Trp fluorescence of the wild-type protein and the Y42W and T68W mutants, with comparable lifetimes. All of these observations support a model for the folding of CspA through a compact intermediate state. The transient IR and fluorescence spectra are consistent with a diffuse intermediate having β-turns and substantial β-sheet structure. The loop β3–β4 structure is likely not folded in the intermediate state, allowing substantial solvent penetration into the barrel structure.
Since the structure determination of bacteriorhodopsin in 1990, much progress has been made in the further development and use of electron crystallography. In this review, we provide a concise overview of the new developments in electron crystallography concerning 2D crystallization, data collection and data processing. Based on electron crystallographic work on bacteriorhodopsin, the acetylcholine receptor and aquaporins, we highlight the unique advantages and future perspectives of electron crystallography for the structural study of membrane proteins. These advantages include the visualization of membrane proteins in their native environment without detergent-induced artifacts, the trapping of different states in a reaction pathway by time-resolved experiments, the study of non-specific protein-lipid interactions and the characterization of the charge state of individual residues in membrane proteins.
In kinetic crystallography, the usually static method of X-ray diffraction is expanded to allow time-resolved analysis of conformational rearrangements in protein structures. To achieve this, reactions have to be triggered within the protein crystals of interest, and optical spectroscopy can be used to monitor the reaction state. For this approach, a modified form of H-Ras p21 was designed which allows reaction initiation and fluorescence readout of the initiated GTPase reaction within the crystalline state. Rearrangements within the crystallized protein due to the progressing reaction and associated heterogeneity in the protein conformations have to be considered in the subsequent refinement processes.
X-ray diffraction experiments on H-Ras p21 in different states along the reaction pathway provide detailed information about the kinetics and mechanism of the GTPase reaction. In addition, a very high data quality of up to 1.0 Å resolution allowed distinguishing two discrete subconformations of H-Ras p21, expanding the knowledge about the intrinsic flexibility of Ras-like proteins, which is important for their function. In a complex of H-Ras•GppNHp (guanosine-5'-(β,γ-imido)-triphosphate), a second Mg2+ ion was found to be coordinated to the γ-phosphate group of GppNHp, which positions the hydrolytically active water molecule very close to the attacked γ-phosphorous atom.
For the structural analysis of very high-resolution data we have used a new 'two-chain-isotropic-refinement' strategy. This refinement provides an alternative and easy to interpret strategy to reflect the conformational variability within crystal structures of biological macromolecules. The presented fluorescent form of H-Ras p21 will be advantageous for fluorescence studies on H-Ras p21 in which the use of fluorescent nucleotides is not feasible.
We demonstrate the use of an X-ray free electron laser synchronized with an optical pump laser to obtain X-ray diffraction snapshots from the photoactivated states of large membrane protein complexes in the form of nanocrystals flowing in a liquid jet. Light-induced changes of Photosystem I-Ferredoxin co-crystals were observed at time delays of 5 to 10 μs after excitation. The result correlates with the microsecond kinetics of electron transfer from Photosystem I to ferredoxin. The undocking process that follows the electron transfer leads to large rearrangements in the crystals that will terminally lead to the disintegration of the crystals. We describe the experimental setup and obtain the first time-resolved femtosecond serial X-ray crystallography results from an irreversible photo-chemical reaction at the Linac Coherent Light Source. This technique opens the door to time-resolved structural studies of reaction dynamics in biological systems.
We demonstrate the use of an X-ray free electron laser synchronized with an optical pump laser to obtain X-ray diffraction snapshots from the photoactivated states of large membrane protein complexes in the form of nanocrystals flowing in a liquid jet. Light-induced changes of Photosystem I-Ferredoxin co-crystals were observed at time delays of 5 to 10 µs after excitation. The result correlates with the microsecond kinetics of electron transfer from Photosystem I to ferredoxin. The undocking process that follows the electron transfer leads to large rearrangements in the crystals that will terminally lead to the disintegration of the crystals. We describe the experimental setup and obtain the first time-resolved femtosecond serial X-ray crystallography results from an irreversible photo-chemical reaction at the Linac Coherent Light Source. This technique opens the door to time-resolved structural studies of reaction dynamics in biological systems.
(170.7160) Ultrafast technology; (170.7440) X-ray imaging; (140.3450) Laser-induced chemistry; (140.7090) Ultrafast lasers; (170.0170) Medical optics and biotechnology
The key features of the functionality facilitating proprietary use of the ESRF’s structural biology beamlines are described, as are the major advantages, in terms of beamline evolution, of the interaction of the ESRF with the pharmaceutical industry.
The ESRF has worked with, and provided services for, the pharmaceutical industry since the construction of its first protein crystallography beamline in the mid-1990s. In more recent times, industrial clients have benefited from a portfolio of beamlines which offer a wide range of functionality and beam characteristics, including tunability, microfocus and micro-aperture. Included in this portfolio is a small-angle X-ray scattering beamline dedicated to the study of biological molecules in solution. The high demands on throughput and efficiency made by the ESRF’s industrial clients have been a major driving force in the evolution of the ESRF’s macromolecular crystallography resources, which now include remote access, the automation of crystal screening and data collection, and a beamline database allowing sample tracking, experiment reporting and real-time at-a-distance monitoring of experiments. This paper describes the key features of the functionality put in place on the ESRF structural biology beamlines and outlines the major advantages of the interaction of the ESRF with the pharmaceutical industry.
synchrotron MX beamlines; proprietary access; service data collection; automation
SPring-8 BL41XU provides a high-flux X-ray beam of size 10–50 µm, and enables high-quality diffraction data to be obtained from various types of protein crystals. Details of this beamline and an upgrade project are described.
SPring-8 BL41XU is a high-flux macromolecular crystallography beamline using an in-vacuum undulator as a light source. The X-rays are monochromated by a liquid-nitrogen-cooling Si double-crystal monochromator, and focused by Kirkpatrick–Baez mirror optics. The focused beam size at the sample is 80 µm (H) × 22 µm (V) with a photon flux of 1.1 × 1013 photons s−1. A pinhole aperture is used to collimate the beam in the range 10–50 µm. This high-flux beam with variable size provides opportunities not only for micro-crystallography but also for data collection effectively making use of crystal volume. The beamline also provides high-energy X-rays covering 20.6–35.4 keV which allows ultra-high-resolution data to be obtained and anomalous diffraction using the K-edge of Xe and I. Upgrade of BL41XU for more rapid and accurate data collection is proceeding. Here, details of BL41XU are given and an outline of the upgrade project is documented.
macromolecular crystallography; micro-crystallography; high-flux beam; high-energy beam; SPring-8
Beamline ID23-2, the first dedicated and highly automated high-throughput monochromatic macromolecular crystallography microfocus beamline, is described.
The first phase of the ESRF beamline ID23 to be constructed was ID23-1, a tunable MAD-capable beamline which opened to users in early 2004. The second phase of the beamline to be constructed is ID23-2, a monochromatic microfocus beamline dedicated to macromolecular crystallography experiments. Beamline ID23-2 makes use of well characterized optical elements: a single-bounce silicon (111) monochromator and two mirrors in Kirkpatrick–Baez geometry to focus the X-ray beam. A major design goal of the ID23-2 beamline is to provide a reliable, easy-to-use and routine microfocus beam. ID23-2 started operation in November 2005, as the first beamline dedicated to microfocus macromolecular crystallography. The beamline has taken the standard automated ESRF macromolecular crystallography environment (both hardware and software), allowing users of ID23-2 to be rapidly familiar with the microfocus environment. This paper describes the beamline design, the special considerations taken into account given the microfocus beam, and summarizes the results of the first years of the beamline operation.
macromolecular crystallography; automation; microfocus
Time-resolved spectroscopic experiments have been performed with protein in solution and in crystalline form using a newly designed microspectrophotometer. The time-resolution of these experiments can be as good as two nanoseconds (ns), which is the minimal response time of the image intensifier used. With the current setup, the effective time-resolution is about seven ns, determined mainly by the pulse duration of the nanosecond laser. The amount of protein required is small, on the order of 100 nanograms. Bleaching, which is an undesirable effect common to photoreceptor proteins, is minimized by using a millisecond shutter to avoid extensive exposure to the probing light. We investigate two model photoreceptors, photoactive yellow protein (PYP), and α-phycoerythrocyanin (α-PEC), on different time scales and at different temperatures. Relaxation times obtained from kinetic time-series of difference absorption spectra collected from PYP are consistent with previous results. The comparison with these results validates the capability of this spectrophotometer to deliver high quality time-resolved absorption spectra.
nanosecond spectroscopy; time-resolved spectroscopy; photoreceptor proteins