Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > X-ray laser resolves atomic structure of biomolecules

This rendering shows a lysozyme structural model against its X-ray diffraction patter from SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), a powerful X-ray laser facility.
Photo by: Anton Barty/DESY
This rendering shows a lysozyme structural model against its X-ray diffraction patter from SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), a powerful X-ray laser facility.

Photo by: Anton Barty/DESY

Abstract:
An international team, led by the U.S. Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and including members from Arizona State University, has shown how the world's most powerful X-ray laser can assist in cracking the atomic code of biomolecules, including a small protein found in egg whites.

X-ray laser resolves atomic structure of biomolecules

Tempe, AZ | Posted on June 1st, 2012

The team's experiments, described this week in Science, used SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) to obtain ultrahigh-resolution views of nano-crystals of biomolecules. In the process, the work is helping pioneer critical new investigative avenues in biology.

"This work demonstrates a new 'snap-shot' X-ray laser method that can provide atomic-resolution images of proteins with femtosecond time resolution and without causing radiation damage of the sample," said John Spence, an ASU Regents Professor of physics.

"This is the first high-resolution demonstration of the 'diffraction-before-destruction' technique on biological samples, where we're able to measure a sample before the powerful pulses of the LCLS damage it," added Sébastien Boutet, a staff scientist at LCLS who led the research. "We were able to actually visualize the structure of the molecule at a resolution so high we start to infer the position of individual atoms," Boutet added.

For decades, scientists have reconstructed the shape of biological molecules and proteins by illuminating crystallized samples with X-rays to study how they scatter the X-rays. The new work with lysozyme (egg white protein) represents the first high-resolution experiments employing serial femtosecond crystallography - the split-second imaging of tiny (submicron) crystals using ultrashort, ultrabright X-ray laser pulses. (A femtosecond is one quadrillionth of a second.)

The technique - described in the paper "High-resolution protein structure determination by serial femtosecond crystallography" - works at a higher resolution than previously achieved using X-ray lasers, allows scientists to use smaller crystals than typical with other methods, and could enable researchers to view molecular dynamics at a time-scale never observed before.

The team chose lysozyme as the first sample for their research because it is easy to crystallize and has been extensively studied. Their work determined lysozyme's structure at such high resolution that it showed the individual amino acids which make up the protein molecules, of which living organisms mainly consist. At this resolution, the researchers could tell the difference between the almost identical amino acid sequences of a turkey and of a hen lysozyme.

Spence said the team has previously published the structure of much larger and more complex proteins using LCLS but at lower resolution, such as photosystems used in photosynthesis, which were made at ASU in the laboratory of Prof. Petra Fromme.

International team members in addition to ASU and SLAC includes researchers from Max Planck Institutes, DESY, Cornell University, State University of New York-Oswego, the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University, the Nikhef National Institute for Subatomic Physics, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, University of Gothenburg, University of Hamburg, University of Lübeck and Uppsala University.

In addition to Spence, other ASU members of the team are Bruce Doak, professor of physics; Petra Fromme, professor of chemistry and biochemistry; Uwe Weierstall, research professor in physics; Raimund Fromme, research associate; Richard Kirian, graduate student; Mark Hunter, graduate student; Christopher Kupitz, graduate research assistant; D. Wang, graduate student and Nadia Zatsepin, post-doctoral researcher. The ASU group developed the sample delivery system and did the early development work on the new "Monte Carlo" data analysis method.

"These results show that 3D image of molecules can now be obtained at atomic resolution by our new X-ray snap-shot method, in which we collect the scattering for the image before the sample is later destroyed by the beam," Spence said. "By 'outrunning' radiation-damage processes in this way, rather than by freezing the sample, we can record the time-evolution of molecular processes at room temperature. This opens the way to future experiments on laser-excited samples, 3-D image reconstruction and a host of other experiments on fast imaging, all directed at the grand challenge of obtaining movies showing molecule machines at work."

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Source:
John Spence
(480) 965-6486


Media contact:
Skip Derra

480-965-4823

Copyright © Arizona State University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Gold standards for nanoparticles: Understanding how small organic ions stabilize gold nanoparticles may allow for better control March 29th, 2017

Tiny sensor lays groundwork for precision X-rays detection via endoscopy:Nanoscale fiber-integrated X-ray sensor opens new doors for medical imaging and radiotherapy March 29th, 2017

Researchers uncover secret of nanomaterial that makes harvesting sunlight easier March 29th, 2017

Information storage with a nanoscale twist: Discovery of a novel rotational force inside magnetic vortices makes it easier to design ultrahigh capacity disk drives March 28th, 2017

Imaging

Tiny sensor lays groundwork for precision X-rays detection via endoscopy:Nanoscale fiber-integrated X-ray sensor opens new doors for medical imaging and radiotherapy March 29th, 2017

Discoveries

Gold standards for nanoparticles: Understanding how small organic ions stabilize gold nanoparticles may allow for better control March 29th, 2017

Tiny sensor lays groundwork for precision X-rays detection via endoscopy:Nanoscale fiber-integrated X-ray sensor opens new doors for medical imaging and radiotherapy March 29th, 2017

Researchers uncover secret of nanomaterial that makes harvesting sunlight easier March 29th, 2017

Information storage with a nanoscale twist: Discovery of a novel rotational force inside magnetic vortices makes it easier to design ultrahigh capacity disk drives March 28th, 2017

Announcements

Gold standards for nanoparticles: Understanding how small organic ions stabilize gold nanoparticles may allow for better control March 29th, 2017

Tiny sensor lays groundwork for precision X-rays detection via endoscopy:Nanoscale fiber-integrated X-ray sensor opens new doors for medical imaging and radiotherapy March 29th, 2017

Researchers uncover secret of nanomaterial that makes harvesting sunlight easier March 29th, 2017

Information storage with a nanoscale twist: Discovery of a novel rotational force inside magnetic vortices makes it easier to design ultrahigh capacity disk drives March 28th, 2017

Tools

Tiny sensor lays groundwork for precision X-rays detection via endoscopy:Nanoscale fiber-integrated X-ray sensor opens new doors for medical imaging and radiotherapy March 29th, 2017

“Cysteine Rose” Wins 2016 Thermo Fisher Scientific Electron Microscopy Image Contest: Thermo Fisher honors Andrea Jacassi of the Italian Institute of Technology for image of cysteine crystals using focused ion beam techniques March 27th, 2017

Leti and HORIBA Scientific to Host Webinar on Ultrafast Characterization Tool: Plasma Profiling Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer Tool Cuts Optimization Time In Layer Deposition and Fabrication of Wide Range of Applications March 27th, 2017

Researchers make flexible glass for tiny medical devices: Glass can bend over and over again on a nanoscale March 27th, 2017

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

Electro-optical switch transmits data at record-low temperatures: Operating at temperatures near absolute zero, switch could enable significantly faster data processing with lower power consumption March 20th, 2017

AIM Photonics Welcomes Coventor as Newest Member: US-Backed Initiative Taps Process Modeling Specialist to Enable Manufacturing of High-Yield, High-Performance Integrated Photonic Designs March 16th, 2017

Optical fingerprint can reveal pollutants in the air: Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have proposed a new, sophisticated method of detecting molecules with sensors based on ultra-thin nanomaterials March 15th, 2017

MIPT physicists predict the existence of unusual optical composites March 10th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project