Researchers from the Department of Atomically Resolved Dynamics of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg, the University of Hamburg and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) outstation in the city have developed a new method to watch biomolecules at work. This method dramatically simplifies starting enzymatic reactions by mixing a cocktail of small amounts of liquids with protein crystals. Determination of the protein structures at different times after mixing can be assembled into a time-lapse sequence that shows the molecular foundations of biology.
The functions of biomolecules are determined by their motions and structural changes. Yet it is a formidable challenge to understand these dynamic motions.
One method that illuminates them is time-resolved X-ray crystallography, where the reaction of a biological molecule is triggered and then snapshots are taken as it reacts.
However, triggering these reactions is extremely challenging as it usually involves lasers and protein reactions that can be started by light.
The new “Liquid Application Method for time-resolved Analyses (LAMA)” overcomes the need for optical triggers. It is tailored to the study of biologically relevant reaction time-scales, which are on the order of milliseconds (10-3) to seconds or even minutes.
These time-scales are of particular interest to biologists and pharmaceutical researchers as they often reveal the structural changes relevant to a particular biological function or the turnover of a drug.
The highly intense micro-focused X-ray beams available on EMBL beamline P14-2 allowed the interrogation of the system on a millisecond time-scale. Importantly, the new “LAMA” method makes the whole experiment a lot simpler than previous approaches.
To start a reaction, a few picoliters (10-12 liter) of the reactant are mixed with microcrystals of the target protein. Reaction snapshots are then recorded as the enzyme proceeds with the turnover of the reactant.
Excitingly, this new method has great potential on existing and up-coming high-brilliance synchrotron radiation sources, allowing many more researchers to carry out time-resolved crystallography studies.
The “LAMA” method has already been implemented as a generally accessible option at the new time-resolved macromolecular crystallography end station on the EMBL beamline P14-2 at the PETRA III synchrotron at DESY.
Many more important insights into biochemical processes will come about by applying such cutting-edge technologies. Their use will allow us to answer some of the most pressing questions on key health or environmental issues.
Dr. Pedram Mehrabi, firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof. Dr. R.J. Dwayne Miller, email@example.com
Jenny Witt | Max-Planck-Institut für Struktur und Dynamik der Materie
Turning carbon dioxide into liquid fuel
06.08.2020 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
Tellurium makes the difference
06.08.2020 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT have come up with a striking new addition to contact stamping technologies in the ERDF research project ScanCut. In collaboration with industry partners from North Rhine-Westphalia, the Aachen-based team of researchers developed a hybrid manufacturing process for the laser cutting of thin-walled metal strips. This new process makes it possible to fabricate even the tiniest details of contact parts in an eco-friendly, high-precision and efficient manner.
Plug connectors are tiny and, at first glance, unremarkable – yet modern vehicles would be unable to function without them. Several thousand plug connectors...
An international research team has found a new approach that may be able to reduce bone loss in osteoporosis and maintain bone health.
Osteoporosis is the most common age-related bone disease which affects hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. It is estimated that one in three women...
Traditional single-cell sequencing methods help to reveal insights about cellular differences and functions - but they do this with static snapshots only...
“Core-shell” clusters pave the way for new efficient nanomaterials that make catalysts, magnetic and laser sensors or measuring devices for detecting electromagnetic radiation more efficient.
Whether in innovative high-tech materials, more powerful computer chips, pharmaceuticals or in the field of renewable energies, nanoparticles – smallest...
An international research team with Prof. Cornelia Denz from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Münster develop for the first time light fields using caustics that do not change during propagation. With the new method, the physicists cleverly exploit light structures that can be seen in rainbows or when light is transmitted through drinking glasses.
Modern applications as high resolution microsopy or micro- or nanoscale material processing require customized laser beams that do not change during...
23.07.2020 | Event News
21.07.2020 | Event News
07.07.2020 | Event News
06.08.2020 | Earth Sciences
06.08.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering
06.08.2020 | Life Sciences