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1.  Femtosecond X-ray protein nanocrystallography 
Chapman, Henry N. | Fromme, Petra | Barty, Anton | White, Thomas A. | Kirian, Richard A. | Aquila, Andrew | Hunter, Mark S. | Schulz, Joachim | DePonte, Daniel P. | Weierstall, Uwe | Doak, R. Bruce | Maia, Filipe R. N. C. | Martin, Andrew V. | Schlichting, Ilme | Lomb, Lukas | Coppola, Nicola | Shoeman, Robert L. | Epp, Sascha W. | Hartmann, Robert | Rolles, Daniel | Rudenko, Artem | Foucar, Lutz | Kimmel, Nils | Weidenspointner, Georg | Holl, Peter | Liang, Mengning | Barthelmess, Miriam | Caleman, Carl | Boutet, Sébastien | Bogan, Michael J. | Krzywinski, Jacek | Bostedt, Christoph | Bajt, Saša | Gumprecht, Lars | Rudek, Benedikt | Erk, Benjamin | Schmidt, Carlo | Hömke, André | Reich, Christian | Pietschner, Daniel | Strüder, Lothar | Hauser, Günter | Gorke, Hubert | Ullrich, Joachim | Herrmann, Sven | Schaller, Gerhard | Schopper, Florian | Soltau, Heike | Kühnel, Kai-Uwe | Messerschmidt, Marc | Bozek, John D. | Hau-Riege, Stefan P. | Frank, Matthias | Hampton, Christina Y. | Sierra, Raymond G. | Starodub, Dmitri | Williams, Garth J. | Hajdu, Janos | Timneanu, Nicusor | Seibert, M. Marvin | Andreasson, Jakob | Rocker, Andrea | Jönsson, Olof | Svenda, Martin | Stern, Stephan | Nass, Karol | Andritschke, Robert | Schröter, Claus-Dieter | Krasniqi, Faton | Bott, Mario | Schmidt, Kevin E. | Wang, Xiaoyu | Grotjohann, Ingo | Holton, James M. | Barends, Thomas R. M. | Neutze, Richard | Marchesini, Stefano | Fromme, Raimund | Schorb, Sebastian | Rupp, Daniela | Adolph, Marcus | Gorkhover, Tais | Andersson, Inger | Hirsemann, Helmut | Potdevin, Guillaume | Graafsma, Heinz | Nilsson, Björn | Spence, John C. H.
Nature  2011;470(7332):73-77.
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 recorded1-3. 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 Source4. We prove this concept with nanocrystals of photosystem I, one of the largest membrane protein complexes5. 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 processes6. 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.
PMCID: PMC3429598  PMID: 21293373
2.  Structure-factor analysis of femtosecond microdiffraction patterns from protein nanocrystals 
A complete set of structure factors has been extracted from hundreds of thousands of femtosecond X-ray diffraction patterns from randomly oriented Photosystem I membrane protein nanocrystals, using the Monte Carlo method of intensity integration. The data, collected at the Linac Coherent Light Source, are compared with conventional single-crystal data collected at a synchrotron source, and the quality of each data set was found to be similar.
A complete set of structure factors has been extracted from hundreds of thousands of femtosecond single-shot X-ray microdiffraction patterns taken from randomly oriented nanocrystals. The method of Monte Carlo integration over crystallite size and orientation was applied to experimental data from Photosystem I nanocrystals. This arrives at structure factors from many partial reflections without prior knowledge of the particle-size distribution. The data were collected at the Linac Coherent Light Source (the first hard-X-ray laser user facility), to which was fitted a hydrated protein nanocrystal injector jet, according to the method of serial crystallography. The data are single ‘still’ diffraction snapshots, each from a different nanocrystal with sizes ranging between 100 nm and 2 µm, so the angular width of Bragg peaks was dominated by crystal-size effects. These results were compared with single-crystal data recorded from large crystals of Photosystem I at the Advanced Light Source and the quality of the data was found to be similar. The implications for improving the efficiency of data collection by allowing the use of very small crystals, for radiation-damage reduction and for time-resolved diffraction studies at room temperature are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3066792  PMID: 21325716
nanocrystals; femtosecond diffraction; free-electron lasers; Monte Carlo methods; protein microdiffraction
3.  High-Resolution Protein Structure Determination by Serial Femtosecond Crystallography 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2012;337(6092):362-364.
Structure determination of proteins and other macromolecules has historically required the growth of high-quality crystals sufficiently large to diffract x-rays efficiently while withstanding radiation damage. We applied serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) using an x-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) to obtain high-resolution structural information from microcrystals (less than 1 micrometer by 1 micrometer by 3 micrometers) of the well-characterized model protein lysozyme. The agreement with synchrotron data demonstrates the immediate relevance of SFX for analyzing the structure of the large group of difficult-to-crystallize molecules.
PMCID: PMC3788707  PMID: 22653729
4.  Natively Inhibited Trypanosoma brucei Cathepsin B Structure Determined by Using an X-ray Laser 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2012;339(6116):227-230.
The Trypanosoma brucei cysteine protease cathepsin B (TbCatB), which is involved in host protein degradation, is a promising target to develop new treatments against sleeping sickness, a fatal disease caused by this protozoan parasite. The structure of the mature, active form of TbCatB has so far not provided sufficient information for the design of a safe and specific drug against T. brucei. By combining two recent innovations, in vivo crystallization and serial femtosecond crystallography, we obtained the room-temperature 2.1 angstrom resolution structure of the fully glycosylated precursor complex of TbCatB. The structure reveals the mechanism of native TbCatB inhibition and demonstrates that new biomolecular information can be obtained by the “diffraction-before-destruction” approach of x-ray free-electron lasers from hundreds of thousands of individual microcrystals.
PMCID: PMC3786669  PMID: 23196907
5.  In vivo protein crystallization opens new routes in structural biology 
Nature methods  2012;9(3):259-262.
Protein crystallization in cells has been observed several times in nature. However, owing to their small size these crystals have not yet been used for X-ray crystallographic analysis. We prepared nano-sized in vivo–grown crystals of Trypanosoma brucei enzymes and applied the emerging method of free-electron laser-based serial femtosecond crystallography to record interpretable diffraction data. This combined approach will open new opportunities in structural systems biology.
PMCID: PMC3429599  PMID: 22286384
6.  Structure of a photosynthetic reaction centre determined by serial femtosecond crystallography 
Nature Communications  2013;4:2911.
Serial femtosecond crystallography is an X-ray free-electron-laser-based method with considerable potential to have an impact on challenging problems in structural biology. Here we present X-ray diffraction data recorded from microcrystals of the Blastochloris viridis photosynthetic reaction centre to 2.8 Å resolution and determine its serial femtosecond crystallography structure to 3.5 Å resolution. Although every microcrystal is exposed to a dose of 33 MGy, no signs of X-ray-induced radiation damage are visible in this integral membrane protein structure.
Serial femtosecond crystallography is an X-ray free-electron-laser-based method that uses X-ray bursts to determine protein structures. Here the authors present the structure of a photosynthetic reaction centre, an integral membrane protein, achieved with no sign of X-ray-induced radiation damage.
PMCID: PMC3905732  PMID: 24352554

Results 1-6 (6)