Structural Molecular Biology

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Five Years of Illumination: SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source

Five years ago, the brightest source of X-rays on the planet lit up at SLAC. The Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser's scientific and technical progress since its momentous "first light" have been no less luminous, say those who have played a role in its success.

Data-mining for Crystal 'Gold' at SLAC's X-ray Laser

A new tool for analyzing mountains of data from SLAC’s Linac Coherent Lightsource (LCLS) X-ray laser can produce high-quality images of important proteins using fewer samples. Scientists hope to use it to reveal the structures and functions of proteins that have proven elusive, as well as mine data from past experiments for new information

X-ray Laser Maps Important Drug Target

Researchers have used one of the brightest X-ray sources on the planet to map the 3-D structure of an important cellular gatekeeper known as a G protein-coupled receptor, or GPCR, in a more natural state than possible before.

Hijacked Protein May Lead to New Therapeutic Interventions

Researchers hope to hijack a natural process called RNA interference to block the production of proteins linked to disease and treat medical conditions for which conventional drugs do not work, including cancer, heart disease, HIV and Parkinson’s disease.

X-ray Laser Brings Cellular Messengers into Focus

Last year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry – shared by Stanford School of Medicine Professor Brian Kobilka and Robert Lefkowitz of Duke University – recognized groundbreaking research in G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). GPCRs are embedded in cell membranes. They interact with signaling molecules outside of cells and trigger responses within cells.

SSRL Confirms Anti-Flu Proteins Work as Designed

Understanding why proteins interact with certain specific molecules and not with the myriad others in their environment is a major goal of molecular biology. Now, in a series of recent papers, researchers describe how they designed proteins from scratch to have a high affinity and high specificity for targets on flu viruses, and then validated the two best designs using X-ray diffraction data collected at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL).

X-ray Laser Probes Biomolecules to Individual Atoms

An international team led by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has proved how the world's most powerful X-ray laser can assist in cracking the structures of biomolecules, and in the processes helped to pioneer critical new investigative avenues in biology.