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

Ag/ZnO-Nanorods Schottky diodes based UV-PDs are fabricated and tested May 26th, 2017

New metamaterial-enhanced MRI technique tested on humans May 26th, 2017

Controlling 3-D behavior of biological cells using laser holographic techniques May 26th, 2017

Unveiling the quantum necklace: Researchers simulate quantum necklace-like structures in superfluids May 26th, 2017

Imaging

New metamaterial-enhanced MRI technique tested on humans May 26th, 2017

Discoveries

Ag/ZnO-Nanorods Schottky diodes based UV-PDs are fabricated and tested May 26th, 2017

New metamaterial-enhanced MRI technique tested on humans May 26th, 2017

Controlling 3-D behavior of biological cells using laser holographic techniques May 26th, 2017

Unveiling the quantum necklace: Researchers simulate quantum necklace-like structures in superfluids May 26th, 2017

Announcements

Ag/ZnO-Nanorods Schottky diodes based UV-PDs are fabricated and tested May 26th, 2017

New metamaterial-enhanced MRI technique tested on humans May 26th, 2017

Controlling 3-D behavior of biological cells using laser holographic techniques May 26th, 2017

Unveiling the quantum necklace: Researchers simulate quantum necklace-like structures in superfluids May 26th, 2017

Tools

New metamaterial-enhanced MRI technique tested on humans May 26th, 2017

Nanometrics Announces Retirement Plans of CEO Timothy Stultz: Dr. Stultz to Continue as Director May 25th, 2017

Nanomechanics, Inc. to Exhibit at the SEM Conference: Nanoindentation experts will attend and exhibit their instruments at the Conference and Exposition on Experimental and Applied Mechanics in Indianapolis May 25th, 2017

Plasmon-powered upconversion nanocrystals for enhanced bioimaging and polarized emission: Plasmonic gold nanorods brighten lanthanide-doped upconversion superdots for improved multiphoton bioimaging contrast and enable polarization-selective nonlinear emissions for novel nanoscal May 19th, 2017

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

Controlling 3-D behavior of biological cells using laser holographic techniques May 26th, 2017

Researchers find new way to control light with electric fields May 25th, 2017

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria: Rice, Ben-Gurion universities show laser-induced graphene kills bacteria, resists biofouling May 22nd, 2017

Plasmon-powered upconversion nanocrystals for enhanced bioimaging and polarized emission: Plasmonic gold nanorods brighten lanthanide-doped upconversion superdots for improved multiphoton bioimaging contrast and enable polarization-selective nonlinear emissions for novel nanoscal May 19th, 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