Colloquium Series

Time: Thursday 12 March 2015 – 1:00pm
Place: New Horizons (Building 82), Theatre G29 (map)

Serial femtosecond protein crystallography using X-ray free electron lasers

Dr Nadia Zatsepin, Arizona State University

Serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) has the potential to revolutionise structural biology by enabling high-resolution, time-resolved studies of irreversible processes in proteins. The extreme brilliance and brevity of X-ray free electron laser (XFEL) pulses, which terminate before the onset of radiation damage, allow structures to be obtained from fully-hydrated protein nano/microcrystals at room temperature. Many biologically important membrane proteins have been studied with SFX, including receptors in the human body and photosynthetic proteins. Typically in SFX, millions of tiny crystals are delivered in a micron-sized jet across a pulsed XFEL beam. The huge number of diffraction patterns thus obtained, each from an individual crystal, necessitated the development of specialised data analysis methods. SFX has also opened up opportunities for novel direct phasing methods in crystallography, using interference fringes between Bragg reflections or high intensity (electronic) radiation-damage induced phasing, which will also be described.

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