X-Ray Crystallography

Synchrotron-based Macromolecular Crystallography

Synchrotron-based macromolecular crystallography is one of the most important techniques to uncover the details of molecular structure at an atomic level. The Case Center for Synchrotron Biosciences (CSB) has unique resources for macromolecular structure analysis at the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II), Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York. The two new X-ray crystallography beamlines, FMX and AMX, funded by NIH and built by NSLS-II, are starting general user operation in the first cycle of 2017. CSB has obtained a Partner User Agreement for FMX and AMX with NSLS-II to assist in commissioning and operation of the two beamlines. As part of this agreement, a fixed percentage of the available beamtime (equally distributed at FMX and AMX) will be allocated to CSB.

FMX is micro-focusing beamline providing focused X-ray beam in the size range of 1 to 20 um. It is suitable for the most challenging projects in macromolecular crystallography and will support serial crystallography and room temperature crystal screening in 96-well plates. AMX is a mini-focusing and high-throughput beamline. AMX supports routine data collection and is ideal for the projects that require screening of thousands of crystals, such as structural studies of membrane proteins and structural based drug design. 

The important properties of X-rays generated by synchrotrons are the high intensity and the tunability of the wavelength, which are essential for novel macromolecular structure determination. Both FMX and AMX beamlines are easily tunable, from 5-30 keV for FMX and from 5-18 keV for AMX. The fluxes at FMX and AMX are ~5x1012 and 1013 ph/s, respectively. CSB follows a multi-mode model for scientific research and discovery at these beamlines. Firstly, CSB is involved in advanced beamline instrumentation development for synchrotron beamlines. Secondly, CSB beamline scientists collaborate with a number of outside scientific research groups to determine novel structures of proteins with biomedical interest. Finally, CSB provides comprehensive beamtime services and training for both academic and industrial users.