Small-Angle Neutron Scattering for Molecular Biology: Basics and Instrumentation
Center for Structural Molecular Biology, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN, USA.Methods in Molecular Biology (Impact Factor: 1.29). 02/2009; 544:293-305. DOI: 10.1007/978-1-59745-483-4_19
As researchers strive to understand the interplay between the complex molecular systems that make up living cells, tools for characterizing the interactions between the various players involved have developed. Small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) plays an important role in building a molecular-level understanding of the structures of macromolecular systems that make up cells. SANS is widely applicable to the study of biological structures including, but by no means limited to, protein-protein or protein-nucleic acid complexes, lipid membranes, cellular scaffolding, and amyloid plaques. Here, we present a brief description of the technique as it is commonly applied to the study of biological systems and an overview instrumentation that is available at the various facilities around the world.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Neutron scattering is a powerful technique that can be used to probe the structures and dynamics of complex systems. It can provide a fundamental understanding of the processes involved in the production of biofuels from lignocellulosic biomass. A variety of neutron scattering technologies are available to elucidate both the organization and deconstruction of this complex composite material and the associations and morphology of the component polymers and the enzymes acting on them, across multiple length scales ranging from Angstroms to micrometers and time scales from microseconds to picoseconds. Unlike most other experimental techniques, neutron scattering is uniquely sensitive to hydrogen (and its isotope deuterium), an atom abundantly present throughout biomass and a key effector in many biological, chemical, and industrial processes for producing biofuels. Sensitivity to hydrogen, the ability to replace hydrogen with deuterium to alter scattering levels, the fact that neutrons cause little or no direct radiation damage, and the ability of neutrons to exchange thermal energies with materials, provide neutron scattering technologies with unique capabilities for bioenergy research. Further, neutrons are highly penetrating, making it possible to employ sample environments that are not suitable for other techniques. The true power of neutron scattering is realized when it is combined with computer simulation and modeling and contrast variation techniques enabled through selective deuterium labeling.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Arthropod borne viruses have developed a complex life cycle adapted to alternate between insect and vertebrate hosts. These arthropod-borne viruses belong mainly to the families Togaviridae, Flaviviridae, and Bunyaviridae. This group of viruses contains many pathogens that cause febrile, hemorrhagic, and encephalitic disease or arthritic symptoms which can be persistent. It has been appreciated for many years that these viruses were evolutionarily adapted to function in the highly divergent cellular environments of both insect and mammalian phyla. These viruses are hybrid in nature, containing viral-encoded RNA and proteins which are glycosylated by the host and encapsulate viral nucleocapsids in the context of a host-derived membrane. From a structural perspective, these virus particles are macromolecular machines adapted in design to assemble into a packaging and delivery system for the virus genome and, only when associated with the conditions appropriate for a productive infection, to disassemble and deliver the RNA cargo. It was initially assumed that the structures of the virus from both hosts were equivalent. New evidence that alphaviruses and flaviviruses can exist in more than one conformation postenvelopment will be discussed in this review. The data are limited but should refocus the field of structural biology on the metastable nature of these viruses.
Data provided are for informational purposes only. Although carefully collected, accuracy cannot be guaranteed. The impact factor represents a rough estimation of the journal's impact factor and does not reflect the actual current impact factor. Publisher conditions are provided by RoMEO. Differing provisions from the publisher's actual policy or licence agreement may be applicable.