Navigation Links
Argonne scientists use lasers to align molecules

ARGONNE, Ill. (May 13, 2008) Protein crystallographers have only scratched the surface of the human proteins important for drug interactions because of difficulties crystallizing the molecules for synchrotron x-ray diffraction.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have devised a way to eliminate the need for crystallization by using lasers to align large groups of molecules.

"Strong laser fields can be used to control the behavior of atoms and molecules," Argonne Distinguished Fellow Linda Young said. "Using x-rays, we can investigate their properties in a totally new way."

Crystallization allows scientists to create a periodic structure that will strongly diffract in specific directions when bombarded with x-rays. From the resulting diffraction pattern, a real-space image can be reconstructed.

However, without crystallization, when x-rays collide with multiple, randomly oriented molecules, they diffract in different directions, making it impossible to create a composite diffraction image, Argonne Physicist Robin Santra said.

Some molecules, such as many involved with drug interaction, cannot be crystallized and imaging would require numerous samples to bombard in order to get a full composite picture. Young's laser technique allows for millions of molecules suspended in a gaseous state to be aligned so that when bombarded with x-rays, they all diffract in the same way. The resulting images are at atomic level resolution and do not require crystallization.

"Understanding the structure of the approximately 1 million human proteins that cannot be crystallized is perhaps the most important challenge facing structural biology," Young said.

"A method for structure determination at atomic resolution without the need to crystallize would be revolutionary."

Young and her team have successfully aligned molecules using a laser, probed the aligned ensemble with x-rays and shown theoretically that the technique could be used for x-ray imaging (See E. R. Peterson et al., Applied Physics Letters 92, 094106 (2008)), but they require an proposed upgrade to the Advanced Photon Source facility located at Argonne before x-ray diffraction can be done experimentally.


Contact: Brock Cooper
DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

Related biology news :

1. Argonne scientists develop techniques for creating molecular movies
2. Bioinformatics technology developed at Argonne provides new insight into microbial activities
3. Research at Argonnes Advanced Photon Source reveals structure and behavior of collagen
4. New Argonne study may shed light on protein-drug interactions
5. Argonne National Lab acquires first SiCortex SC5832
6. Argonne helps China create cleaner Beijing for 2008 Olympics
7. Too hot to handle! Scientists identify heat sensing regulator
8. Scientists dig deeper into the genetics of schizophrenia by evaluating microRNAs
9. Scientists endure Arctic for last campaign prior to CryoSat-2 launch
10. Scientists discover why plague is so lethal
11. UF scientists discover compound that could lead to new blood pressure drugs
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/22/2016)... 22, 2016 On Monday, the Department of ... to share solutions for the Biometric Exit Program. The ... Border Protection (CBP), explains that CBP intends to add ... the United States , in order to ... imposters. Logo - ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... attendance control systems is proud to announce the introduction of fingerprint attendance control software, ... employees are actually signing in, and to even control the opening of doors. ... ... ... Photo - ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... --  The Weather Company , an IBM Business (NYSE: ... in which consumers will be able to interact with IBM ... voice or text and receive relevant information about the product ... have long sought an advertising solution that can create a ... and valuable; and can scale across millions of interactions and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)...   Boston Biomedical , an industry leader ... target cancer stemness pathways, announced that its lead ... Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ... gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin is an orally ... stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, and is currently ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has signed ... to serve as their official health care provider. ... will provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, and ... volunteers, athletes and families. "We are ... and to bring Houston Methodist quality services and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university ... to harness living systems and biotechnology, announced its winning ... New York City . ... showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the ... MoMA,s senior curator of architecture and design, and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking software company, today announced that Dr. ... STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. , “I am thrilled that Dr. ... STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as a scientific integrator, Hays brings a ...
Breaking Biology Technology: