Charles E. Dann, Ph.D.
The Macromolecular Crystallography Facility Integrated with the Crystallization Automation Facility (MCF/CAF) provides all equipment necessary to facilitate research in all aspects of Structural Biology at IU Bloomington. New instrumentation allows high throughput macromolecular crystallography using advanced robotics. The Phoenix DT and Gryphon LCP drop setter robots commercialized by Art Robbins Instruments can set up crystallization trails with high accuracy and minimizing the total amount of purified sample used during the screening. The Minstrel HT-UV (Rigaku) is a fully automated high-throughput ultraviolet and visible crystal imaging and protein crystal monitoring system, which is coupled to two Gallery™ HT incubator storage systems. Using the CrystalTrak software in situ or online the users can control, optimize, visualize and document automatically all the crystallization screening process. In addition, the Alchemist DT (Rigaku), also connected to CrystalTrak software, allows automatic liquid handling for protein crystallization optimization. Stereoscopes coupled to high definition cameras and supplies for crystal manipulation are also provided by the facility. Moreover, computational resources facilitate structure determination and refinement with the latest programs available. In addition, IUB is a member institution in the Molecular Biology Consortium, which allows for easy and very frequent remote synchrotron access on beamline 4.2.2 at the Advanced Light Source (ALS), at Berkeley, California. Therefore, testing for crystal/diffraction quality and/or data collection is done effortless and time-effectively. MCF/CAF was founded to facilitate and encourage research endeavors in structural biology and to provide centralized resources for training and education in latest crystallographic and structural biology techniques.
- The Alchemist is designed to generate customized crystallization screens based on initial crystallization \”hits\” to yield diffraction quality crystals.
- Phoenix HT / RE, a drop setting robot that distributes user samples and potential crystallants in 96-3 format plates (up to 288 trials per plate).
- The Minstrel HT/UV coupled with two Gallery 700 incubators allows for user-free storage and imaging of all crystallization trails. Image data are stored on a server that can be accessed remotely via the CrystalTrak Web software.
x-ray crystallography, crystallography, macromolecular structure, crystal structure, crystallization, imaging, structural biology, protein complexes, viral particles, protein macromolecules, structure determination, refinement
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