A New Paradigm for MX Beamlines
News Jan 25, 2011
The paper, which is entitled 'A new paradigm for macromolecular crystallography beamlines derived from high-pressure methodology and results' is available free of charge within the Journal of Synchotron Radiation.
Biological structures can now be investigated at high resolution by high-pressure X-ray macromolecular crystallography (HPMX). The number of HPMX studies is growing, with applications to polynucleotides, monomeric and multimeric proteins, complex assemblies and even a virus capsid.
Investigations of the effects of pressure perturbation have encompassed elastic compression of the native state, study of proteins from extremophiles and trapping of higher-energy conformers that are often of biological interest; measurements of the compressibility of crystals and macromolecules were also performed. HPMX results were an incentive to investigate short and ultra-short wavelengths for standard biocrystallography. On cryocooled lysozyme crystals it was found that the data collection efficiency using 33 keV photons is increased with respect to 18 keV photons. This conclusion was extended from 33 keV down to 6.5 keV by exploiting previously published data. To be fully exploited, the potential of higher-energy photons requires detectors with a good efficiency. Accordingly, a new paradigm for MX beamlines was suggested, using conventional short and ultra-short wavelengths, aiming at the collection of very high accuracy data on crystals under standard conditions or under high pressure. The main elements of such beamlines are outlined.