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Where is crystallography going?

DOI: 10.1107/S2059798317016709 DOI Help

Authors: Jonathan M. Grimes (Diamond Light Source; Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics) , David R. Hall (Diamond Light Source) , Alun W. Ashton (Diamond Light Source) , Gwyndaf Evans (Diamond Light Source) , Robin L. Owen (Diamond Light Source) , Armin Wagner (Diamond Light Source; Research Complex at Harwell) , Katherine E. Mcauley (Diamond Light Source) , Frank Von Delft (Diamond Light Source; Structural Genomics Consortium) , Allen M. Orville (Diamond Light Source; Research Complex at Harwell) , Thomas Sorensen (Diamond Light Source; Research Complex at Harwell) , Martin A. Walsh (Diamond Light Source) , Helen Ginn (Diamond Light Source; Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics) , David I. Stuart (Diamond Light Source; Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Acta Crystallographica Section D Structural Biology , VOL 74 , PAGES 152 - 166

State: Published (Approved)
Published: February 2018

Open Access Open Access

Abstract: Macromolecular crystallography (MX) has been a motor for biology for over half a century and this continues apace. A series of revolutions, including the production of recombinant proteins and cryo-crystallography, have meant that MX has repeatedly reinvented itself to dramatically increase its reach. Over the last 30 years synchrotron radiation has nucleated a succession of advances, ranging from detectors to optics and automation. These advances, in turn, open up opportunities. For instance, a further order of magnitude could perhaps be gained in signal to noise for general synchrotron experiments. In addition, X-ray free-electron lasers offer to capture fragments of reciprocal space without radiation damage, and open up the subpicosecond regime of protein dynamics and activity. But electrons have recently stolen the limelight: so is X-ray crystallography in rude health, or will imaging methods, especially single-particle electron microscopy, render it obsolete for the most interesting biology, whilst electron diffraction enables structure determination from even the smallest crystals? We will lay out some information to help you decide.

Journal Keywords: macromolecular crystallography; synchrotrons; XFELs; electron diffraction; electron microscopy

Subject Areas: Technique Development, Physics


Technical Areas: Accelerator Physics

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