Monday, March 21, 2011

Femtosecond X-ray nanocrystallography of PSI

It is a well known fact (to those who know it well) that in order to obtain a decent diffraction pattern one has to grow a decent-size crystal first. Well, that is about to change. The PDB entry enigmatically named “femtosecond X-ray protein nanocrystallography” [1] in fact contains the structure of the photosystem I (PSI) from Thermosynechococcus elongatus solved by this new method [2]. In this work, more that 3 million diffraction patterns were collected from really small PSI crystals (from ~200  nm to 2  μm in size) illuminated by the new femtosecond X-ray laser, the Linac Coherent Light Source in Stanford. According to the authors,

We mitigate the problem of radiation damage in crystallography by using pulses briefer than the timescale of most damage processes.

  1. PDB:3PCQ
  2. Chapman, H.N., Fromme, P., Barty, A. et al. (2011) Femtosecond X-ray protein nanocrystallography. Nature 470, 73—77.

No comments: