The Development of an Automated Nano Sampling Handling System for Nanometre Protein Crystallography Experiments

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As the world’s synchrotrons and X-FELs endeavour to meet the need to analyse ever-smaller protein crystals, there grows a requirement for a new technique to present nano-dimensional samples to the beam for X-ray diffraction experiments.The nano tweezers are very much a bottom up approach and facilitate self-assembly, alignment and subsequently automation. They also offer the potential to inform the user that a crystal has been trapped prior to interrogation. This paper details crystal trapping experiments that have been carried out proving ‘typical’ protein crystals the system will be required to trap in service can indeed be trapped. Modified chip architecture has been developed as the standard chips attenuated too much of the X-ray beam. Early tests with the next generation of chips have shown the modified chips can trap 500nm protein crystals. Trials to confirm the reduced beam attenuation have been completed and early diffraction experiments are also showing great promise.This novel approach of assembling, aligning and ultimately automating the presentation of nano dimensional protein crystals for X-ray diffraction experiments will prove potentially game changing for the structural biology community.

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: 3, Biotech, Biomaterials and Biomedical: TechConnect Briefs 2015
Published: June 14, 2015
Pages: 210 - 213
Industry sector: Sensors, MEMS, Electronics
Topic: Micro & Bio Fluidics, Lab-on-Chip
ISBN: 978-1-4987-4729-5