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, email@example.com
Prof. Dr. R.J. Dwayne Miller, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jenny Witt | Max-Planck-Institut für Struktur und Dynamik der Materie
Chip-based optical sensor detects cancer biomarker in urine
06.12.2019 | The Optical Society
Scientist identify new marker for insecticide resistance in malaria mosquitoes
06.12.2019 | Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
University of Texas and MIT researchers create virtual UAVs that can predict vehicle health, enable autonomous decision-making
In the not too distant future, we can expect to see our skies filled with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) delivering packages, maybe even people, from location...
With ultracold chemistry, researchers get a first look at exactly what happens during a chemical reaction
The coldest chemical reaction in the known universe took place in what appears to be a chaotic mess of lasers. The appearance deceives: Deep within that...
Abnormal scarring is a serious threat resulting in non-healing chronic wounds or fibrosis. Scars form when fibroblasts, a type of cell of connective tissue, reach wounded skin and deposit plugs of extracellular matrix. Until today, the question about the exact anatomical origin of these fibroblasts has not been answered. In order to find potential ways of influencing the scarring process, the team of Dr. Yuval Rinkevich, Group Leader for Regenerative Biology at the Institute of Lung Biology and Disease at Helmholtz Zentrum München, aimed to finally find an answer. As it was already known that all scars derive from a fibroblast lineage expressing the Engrailed-1 gene - a lineage not only present in skin, but also in fascia - the researchers intentionally tried to understand whether or not fascia might be the origin of fibroblasts.
Fibroblasts kit - ready to heal wounds
Research from a leading international expert on the health of the Great Lakes suggests that the growing intensity and scale of pollution from plastics poses serious risks to human health and will continue to have profound consequences on the ecosystem.
In an article published this month in the Journal of Waste Resources and Recycling, Gail Krantzberg, a professor in the Booth School of Engineering Practice...
03.12.2019 | Event News
15.11.2019 | Event News
15.11.2019 | Event News
06.12.2019 | Earth Sciences
06.12.2019 | Life Sciences
06.12.2019 | Information Technology