Serial millisecond crystallography for routine room-temperature structure determination at synchrotrons

Nat Commun. 2017 Sep 14;8(1):542. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00630-4.


Historically, room-temperature structure determination was succeeded by cryo-crystallography to mitigate radiation damage. Here, we demonstrate that serial millisecond crystallography at a synchrotron beamline equipped with high-viscosity injector and high frame-rate detector allows typical crystallographic experiments to be performed at room-temperature. Using a crystal scanning approach, we determine the high-resolution structure of the radiation sensitive molybdenum storage protein, demonstrate soaking of the drug colchicine into tubulin and native sulfur phasing of the human G protein-coupled adenosine receptor. Serial crystallographic data for molecular replacement already converges in 1,000-10,000 diffraction patterns, which we collected in 3 to maximally 82 minutes. Compared with serial data we collected at a free-electron laser, the synchrotron data are of slightly lower resolution, however fewer diffraction patterns are needed for de novo phasing. Overall, the data we collected by room-temperature serial crystallography are of comparable quality to cryo-crystallographic data and can be routinely collected at synchrotrons.Serial crystallography was developed for protein crystal data collection with X-ray free-electron lasers. Here the authors present several examples which show that serial crystallography using high-viscosity injectors can also be routinely employed for room-temperature data collection at synchrotrons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't