X-ray Crystallography facility

Biological X-ray Crystallography

Macromolecular x-ray crystallography is a means of determining the 3-dimensional structure of a macromolecule from the systematic scattering of x-rays by a crystal made of that macromolecule. Bio-macromolecules include protein, DNA, RNA, and combinations of the three as well as their interactions with small ligands. Purified biological molecules are crystalized, positioned in the x-ray beam, and diffracted x-rays are detected using an image plate detector. Data analysis and processing followed by modeling of the data yields the 3-dimensional structure. The 3-dimensional structure of the macromolecule is used to study the details of the relationship between the structure of the biological macromolecule and its function. Additionally, the 3-dimensional models of macromolecules are used in the intelligent design of pharmaceuticals and pesticides as well as to understand the nature of metabolic diseases.