[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The arm light organ of the firefly squid, Watasenia scintillans, emits extremely bright flashes of light, which are caused by a luciferin-luciferase reaction involving ATP, Mg(2+) and molecular oxygen. The molecular mechanism underlying the bioluminescence reaction has remained unresolved, because the luciferase could not be identified or isolated. The arm light organ contains numerous rod-like bodies that are 2-6 μm long and 1-2 μm thick. This paper addresses the characterization of the extracted rod-like body. We found that the rod-like bodies emit the light in vitro by the luciferin-luciferase reaction. Furthermore, by using the X-ray powder diffraction method, we confirmed that the rod-like bodies are well-ordered microcrystals.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: X-ray diffraction patterns from a film of oriented purple membranes, which comprise two-dimensional crystals of bacteriorhodopsin (BR) trimers, were recorded with a 1 m-pathlength Guinier-type camera at SPring-8 BL40B2. A well focused X-ray beam and a camera with a high angular resolution of 0.024 degrees enabled a powder diffraction profile with very sharp and well separated peaks to be obtained up to a resolution of 2.3 A. Using integrated diffraction intensities up to a Bragg spacing of 4.2 A, a cluster of bulky amino acid residues and the head group of the BR chromophore are apparent in the electron density map projected along the membrane normal. Thus, a combination of synchrotron X-rays and large Guinier camera can be used for analyzing the conformational changes of BR in the intact state. In addition, the method might be extended to the structural analysis of film materials composed of two-dimensional arrays of nanoparticles.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hierarchical features of the thermal unfolding-refolding structural transition of hen egg white lysozyme (HEWL) have been studied in the temperature range from 13 to 84 degrees C by using high-resolution wide-angle X-ray scattering (WAXS) measurements at a third-generation synchrotron source. We have gathered high-statistic WAXS data of the reversible unfolding-refolding process of HEWL in the q range from approximately 0.05 to approximately 3 A(-1) [q = (4pi/lambda) sin(theta/2), where theta is the scattering angle and lambda the wavelength]. This measured q range corresponds to the spatial distance from approximately 2 to approximately 125 A, which covers all hierarchical structures of a small globular protein such as HEWL, namely, tertiary, domain, and secondary structures. Because of this, we have found that the pH dependence of the thermal structural transition of HEWL is well characterized by the various hierarchical levels and the transition concurrence among them. In this report, we present a new hierarchical map depiction of unfolding-refolding transitions. Using scattering with various ranges of q values, we determine the molar ratio of native-like protein structure defined by the data in each range, thus producing a map of the amount of native-like structure as a function of the hierarchical level or resolution. This map can visualize a detailed feature of the unfolding-refolding transition of a protein depending on various structural hierarchical levels; however, the exact meaning of the map will await sharpening by additional works.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the present study using a high-intensity X-ray beam from a third-generation synchrotron radiation source, it is demonstrated that a wide-angle X-ray scattering (WAXS) profile from several globular proteins in solution can reflect not only the overall structures (approximately 300 A distance resolution) but also intramolecular structures ranging to secondary structures (approximately 2.5 A distance resolution). The proteins treated in the present experiments are classified as different types of structure categories, namely, as all-alpha, all-beta and alpha + beta proteins. Here the full-range experimental scattering curves are compared with the theoretical curves, suggesting a further availability of the SR-WAXS method for studies of structure hierarchy and the function of proteins in solutions.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A powder diffractometer of Guinier geometry was developed and tested on a beamline, BL40B2, at SPring-8. The long specimen-to-detector distance, 1,000 mm, is advantageous in recording diffraction from Bragg spacing of 20 nm or larger. The angular resolution, 0.012 degrees, was realized together with the focusing optics, the long specimen-to-detector distance and the small pixel size of Blue-type Imaging Plate detector. Such a high resolution makes the peak separation possible in the powder diffraction from microcrystals with large unit cell and low symmetry of biological macromolecules.