In situ serial crystallography for rapid de novo membrane protein structure determination

Commun Biol. 2018 Aug 27:1:124. doi: 10.1038/s42003-018-0123-6. eCollection 2018.


De novo membrane protein structure determination is often limited by the availability of large crystals and the difficulties in obtaining accurate diffraction data for experimental phasing. Here we present a method that combines in situ serial crystallography with de novo phasing for fast, efficient membrane protein structure determination. The method enables systematic diffraction screening and rapid data collection from hundreds of microcrystals in in meso crystallization wells without the need for direct crystal harvesting. The requisite data quality for experimental phasing is achieved by accumulating diffraction signals from isomorphous crystals identified post-data collection. The method works in all experimental phasing scenarios and is particularly attractive with fragile, weakly diffracting microcrystals. The automated serial data collection approach can be readily adopted at most microfocus macromolecular crystallography beamlines.