Dynamic structural biology: new tools and strategies for general applications


  • Dr Allen Orville

    Diamond Light Source Ltd

Project summary

Capturing atomic resolution ‘movies’ of functioning macromolecules has been a major challenge in structural biology ever since Nobel prize winner Max Perutz attempted to measure the structural impact of O2 binding to haemoglobin crystals. His large crystals cracked when he tested this function because it triggered significant conformational dynamics.

We are experiencing a step change in time-resolved functional studies linked to serial femtosecond crystallography. This room temperature technique exploits micron-sized crystals and fs pulses from X-ray free electron lasers (XFELs), which are nine orders of magnitude brighter than synchrotrons such as Diamond Light Source.

We will correlate room temperature, serial crystallographic and spectroscopic data to determine the time-resolved electronic and atomic structures of metalloenzymes engaged in catalysis.