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Sample preparation and transfer protocol for in-vacuum long-wavelength crystallography on beamline I23 at Diamond Light Source

DOI: 10.3791/62364 DOI Help

Authors: Ramona Duman (Diamond Light Source) , Christian Orr (Diamond Light Source) , Vitaliy Mykhaylyk (Diamond Light Source) , Kamel El Omari (Diamond Light Source) , Robert Pocock (Diamond Light Source) , Vinay Grama (Diamond Light Source) , Armin Wagner (Diamond Light Source)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Journal Of Visualized Experiments

State: Published (Approved)
Published: April 2021

Open Access Open Access

Abstract: Long-wavelength macromolecular crystallography (MX) exploits the anomalous scattering properties of elements, such as sulfur, phosphorus, potassium, chlorine, or calcium, that are often natively present in macromolecules. This enables the direct structure solution of proteins and nucleic acids via experimental phasing without the need of additional labelling. To eliminate the significant air absorption of X-rays in this wavelength regime, these experiments are performed in a vacuum environment. Beamline I23 at Diamond Light Source, UK, is the first synchrotron instrument of its kind, designed and optimized for MX experiments in the long wavelength range towards 5 Å. To make this possible, a large vacuum vessel encloses all endstation components of the sample environment. The necessity to maintain samples at cryogenic temperatures during storage and data collection in vacuum requires the use of thermally conductive sample holders. This facilitates efficient heat removal to ensure sample cooling to approximately 50 K. The current protocol describes the procedures used for sample preparation and transfer of samples into vacuum on beamline I23. Ensuring uniformity in practices and methods already established within the macromolecular crystallography community, sample cooling to liquid nitrogen temperature can be performed in any laboratory setting equipped with standard MX tools. Cryogenic storage and transport of samples only require standard commercially available equipment. Specialized equipment is required for the transfer of cryogenically cooled crystals from liquid nitrogen into the vacuum endstation. Bespoke sample handling tools and a dedicated Cryogenic Transfer System (CTS) have been developed in house. Diffraction data collected on samples prepared using this protocol show excellent merging statistics, indicating that the quality of samples is unaltered during the procedure. This opens unique opportunities for in-vacuum MX in a wavelength range beyond standard synchrotron beamlines.

Subject Areas: Biology and Bio-materials, Chemistry

Instruments: I23-Long wavelength MX


Discipline Tags:

Life Sciences & Biotech Structural biology Chemistry Biochemistry

Technical Tags:

Diffraction Macromolecular Crystallography (MX) Long Wavelength Crystallography