[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Serial femtosecond crystallography is an X-ray free-electron-laser-based method with considerable potential to have an impact on challenging problems in structural biology. Here we present X-ray diffraction data recorded from microcrystals of the Blastochloris viridis photosynthetic reaction centre to 2.8 Å resolution and determine its serial femtosecond crystallography structure to 3.5 Å resolution. Although every microcrystal is exposed to a dose of 33 MGy, no signs of X-ray-induced radiation damage are visible in this integral membrane protein structure.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Single shot diffraction imaging experiments via X-ray free-electron lasers can generate as many as hundreds of thousands of diffraction patterns of scattering objects. Recovering the real space contrast of a scattering object from these patterns currently requires a reconstruction process with user guidance in a number of steps, introducing severe bottlenecks in data processing. We present a series of measures that replace user guidance with algorithms that reconstruct contrasts in an unsupervised fashion. We demonstrate the feasibility of automating the reconstruction process by generating hundreds of contrasts obtained from soot particle diffraction experiments.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Characterizing intense, focused x-ray free electron laser (FEL) pulses is crucial for their use in diffractive imaging. We describe how the distribution of average phase tilts and intensities on hard x-ray pulses with peak intensities of 10<sup>21</sup> W/m<sup>2</sup> can be retrieved from an ensemble of diffraction patterns produced by 70 nm-radius polystyrene spheres, in a manner that mimics wavefront sensors. Besides showing that an adaptive geometric correction may be necessary for diffraction data from randomly injected sample sources, our paper demonstrates the possibility of collecting statistics on structured pulses using only the diffraction patterns they generate and highlights the imperative to study its impact on single-particle diffractive imaging.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Trypanosoma brucei cysteine protease cathepsin B (TbCatB), which is involved in host
protein degradation, is a promising target to develop new treatments against sleeping sickness, a
fatal disease caused by this protozoan parasite. The structure of the mature, active form of TbCatB
has so far not provided sufficient information for the design of a safe and specific drug against T.
brucei. By combining two recent innovations, in vivo crystallization and serial femtosecond
crystallography, we obtained the room-temperature 2.1 angstrom resolution structure of the fully
glycosylated precursor complex of TbCatB. The structure reveals the mechanism of native
TbCatB inhibition and demonstrates that new biomolecular information can be obtained by the
“diffraction-before-destruction” approach of x-ray free-electron lasers from hundreds of thousands
of individual microcrystals.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Unraveling the complex morphology of functional materials like core–shell nanoparticles and its evolution in different environments is still a challenge. Only recently has the single-particle coherent diffraction imaging (CDI), enabled by the ultrabright femtosecond free-electron laser pulses, provided breakthroughs in understanding mesoscopic morphology of nanoparticulate matter. Here, we report the first CDI results for Co@SiO 2 core–shell nanoparticles randomly clustered in large airborne aggregates, obtained using the x-ray free-electron laser at the Linac Coherent Light Source. Our experimental results compare favourably with simulated diffraction patterns for clustered Co@SiO 2 nanoparticles with ∼10 nm core diameter and ∼30 nm shell outer diameter, which confirms the ability to resolve the mesoscale morphology of complex metastable structures. The findings in this first morphological study of core–shell nanomaterials are a solid base for future time-resolved studies of dynamic phenomena in complex nanoparticulate matter using x-ray lasers.
Journal of Physics B Atomic Molecular and Optical Physics 01/2013; 46(16):164033. · 2.03 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Diffractive imaging with free-electron lasers allows structure determination from ensembles of weakly scattering identical nanoparticles. The ultra-short, ultra-bright X-ray pulses provide snapshots of the randomly oriented particles frozen in time, and terminate before the onset of structural damage. As signal strength diminishes for small particles, the synthesis of a three-dimensional diffraction volume requires simultaneous involvement of all data. Here we report the first application of a three-dimensional spatial frequency correlation analysis to carry out this synthesis from noisy single-particle femtosecond X-ray diffraction patterns of nearly identical samples in random and unknown orientations, collected at the Linac Coherent Light Source. Our demonstration uses unsupported test particles created via aerosol self-assembly, and composed of two polystyrene spheres of equal diameter. The correlation analysis avoids the need for orientation determination entirely. This method may be applied to the structural determination of biological macromolecules in solution.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The morphology of micrometre-size particulate matter is of critical importance in fields ranging from toxicology to climate science, yet these properties are surprisingly difficult to measure in the particles' native environment. Electron microscopy requires collection of particles on a substrate; visible light scattering provides insufficient resolution; and X-ray synchrotron studies have been limited to ensembles of particles. Here we demonstrate an in situ method for imaging individual sub-micrometre particles to nanometre resolution in their native environment, using intense, coherent X-ray pulses from the Linac Coherent Light Source free-electron laser. We introduced individual aerosol particles into the pulsed X-ray beam, which is sufficiently intense that diffraction from individual particles can be measured for morphological analysis. At the same time, ion fragments ejected from the beam were analysed using mass spectrometry, to determine the composition of single aerosol particles. Our results show the extent of internal dilation symmetry of individual soot particles subject to non-equilibrium aggregation, and the surprisingly large variability in their fractal dimensions. More broadly, our methods can be extended to resolve both static and dynamic morphology of general ensembles of disordered particles. Such general morphology has implications in topics such as solvent accessibilities in proteins, vibrational energy transfer by the hydrodynamic interaction of amino acids, and large-scale production of nanoscale structures by flame synthesis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The emergence of femtosecond diffractive imaging with X-ray lasers has enabled pioneering structural studies of isolated particles, such as viruses, at nanometer length scales. However, the issue of missing low frequency data significantly limits the potential of X-ray lasers to reveal sub-nanometer details of micrometer-sized samples. We have developed a new technique of dark-field coherent diffractive imaging to simultaneously overcome the missing data issue and enable us to harness the unique contrast mechanisms available in dark-field microscopy. Images of airborne particulate matter (soot) up to two microns in length were obtained using single-shot diffraction patterns obtained at the Linac Coherent Light Source, four times the size of objects previously imaged in similar experiments. This technique opens the door to femtosecond diffractive imaging of a wide range of micrometer-sized materials that exhibit irreproducible complexity down to the nanoscale, including airborne particulate matter, small cells, bacteria and gold-labeled biological samples.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Structure determination of proteins and other macromolecules has historically required the growth of high-quality crystals sufficiently large to diffract x-rays efficiently while withstanding radiation damage. We applied serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) using an x-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) to obtain high-resolution structural information from microcrystals (less than 1 micrometer by 1 micrometer by 3 micrometers) of the well-characterized model protein lysozyme. The agreement with synchrotron data demonstrates the immediate relevance of SFX for analyzing the structure of the large group of difficult-to-crystallize molecules.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe femtosecond X-ray diffraction data sets of viruses and nanoparticles collected at the Linac Coherent Light Source. The data establish the first large benchmark data sets for coherent diffraction methods freely available to the public, to bolster the development of algorithms that are essential for developing this novel approach as a useful imaging technique. Applications are 2D reconstructions, orientation classification and finally 3D imaging by assembling 2D patterns into a 3D diffraction volume.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We demonstrate the use of an X-ray free electron laser synchronized with an optical pump laser to obtain X-ray diffraction snapshots from the photoactivated states of large membrane protein complexes in the form of nanocrystals flowing in a liquid jet. Light-induced changes of Photosystem I-Ferredoxin co-crystals were observed at time delays of 5 to 10 µs after excitation. The result correlates with the microsecond kinetics of electron transfer from Photosystem I to ferredoxin. The undocking process that follows the electron transfer leads to large rearrangements in the crystals that will terminally lead to the disintegration of the crystals. We describe the experimental setup and obtain the first time-resolved femtosecond serial X-ray crystallography results from an irreversible photo-chemical reaction at the Linac Coherent Light Source. This technique opens the door to time-resolved structural studies of reaction dynamics in biological systems.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: X-ray free electron laser (X-FEL)-based serial femtosecond crystallography is an emerging method with potential to rapidly advance the challenging field of membrane protein structural biology. Here we recorded interpretable diffraction data from micrometer-sized lipidic sponge phase crystals of the Blastochloris viridis photosynthetic reaction center delivered into an X-FEL beam using a sponge phase micro-jet.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The resolution of single-shot coherent diffractive imaging at X-ray free-electron laser facilities is limited by the low signal-to-noise level of diffraction data at high scattering angles. The iterative reconstruction methods, which phase a continuous diffraction pattern to produce an image, must be able to extract information from these weak signals to obtain the best quality images. Here we show how to modify iterative reconstruction methods to improve tolerance to noise. The method is demonstrated with the hybrid input-output method on both simulated data and single-shot diffraction patterns taken at the Linac Coherent Light Source.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Profiling structured beams produced by X-ray free-electron lasers (FELs) is crucial to both maximizing signal intensity for weakly scattering targets and interpreting their scattering patterns. Earlier ablative imprint studies describe how to infer the X-ray beam profile from the damage that an attenuated beam inflicts on a substrate. However, the beams in-situ profile is not directly accessible with imprint studies because the damage profile could be different from the actual beam profile. On the other hand, although a Shack-Hartmann sensor is capable of in-situ profiling, its lenses may be quickly damaged at the intense focus of hard X-ray FEL beams. We describe a new approach that probes the in-situ morphology of the intense FEL focus. By studying the translations in diffraction patterns from an ensemble of randomly injected sub-micron latex spheres, we were able to determine the non-Gaussian nature of the intense FEL beam at the Linac Coherent Light Source (SLAC National Laboratory) near the FEL focus. We discuss an experimental application of such a beam-profiling technique, and the limitations we need to overcome before it can be widely applied.
Proc. SPIE 8504, X-Ray Free-Electron Lasers: Beam Diagnostics, Beamline Instrumentation, and Applications. 01/2012;
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: X-ray free-electron lasers have enabled new approaches to the structural determination of protein crystals that are too small or radiation-sensitive for conventional analysis(1). For sufficiently short pulses, diffraction is collected before significant changes occur to the sample, and it has been predicted that pulses as short as 10 fs may be required to acquire atomic-resolution structural information(1-4). Here, we describe a mechanism unique to ultrafast, ultra-intense X-ray experiments that allows structural information to be collected from crystalline samples using high radiation doses without the requirement for the pulse to terminate before the onset of sample damage. Instead, the diffracted X-rays are gated by a rapid loss of crystalline periodicity, producing apparent pulse lengths significantly shorter than the duration of the incident pulse. The shortest apparent pulse lengths occur at the highest resolution, and our measurements indicate that current X-ray free-electron laser technology(5) should enable structural determination from submicrometre protein crystals with atomic resolution.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Protein crystallization in cells has been observed several times in nature. However, owing to their small size these crystals have not yet been used for X-ray crystallographic analysis. We prepared nano-sized in vivo-grown crystals of Trypanosoma brucei enzymes and applied the emerging method of free-electron laser-based serial femtosecond crystallography to record interpretable diffraction data. This combined approach will open new opportunities in structural systems biology.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: X-ray free-electron lasers deliver intense femtosecond pulses that promise to yield high resolution diffraction data of nanocrystals before the destruction of the sample by radiation damage. Diffraction intensities of lysozyme nanocrystals collected at the Linac Coherent Light Source using 2 keV photons were used for structure determination by molecular replacement and analyzed for radiation damage as a function of pulse length and fluence. Signatures of radiation damage are observed for pulses as short as 70 fs. Parametric scaling used in conventional crystallography does not account for the observed effects.
Physical Review B 12/2011; 84(21):214111. · 3.77 Impact Factor