[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BioCARS, a NIH-supported national user facility for macromolecular time-resolved X-ray crystallography at the Advanced Photon Source (APS), has recently completed commissioning of an upgraded undulator-based beamline optimized for single-shot laser-pump X-ray-probe measurements with time resolution as short as 100 ps. The source consists of two in-line undulators with periods of 23 and 27 mm that together provide high-flux pink-beam capability at 12 keV as well as first-harmonic coverage from 6.8 to 19 keV. A high-heat-load chopper reduces the average power load on downstream components, thereby preserving the surface figure of a Kirkpatrick–Baez mirror system capable of focusing the X-ray beam to a spot size of 90 µm horizontal by 20 µm vertical. A high-speed chopper isolates single X-ray pulses at 1 kHz in both hybrid and 24-bunch modes of the APS storage ring. In hybrid mode each isolated X-ray pulse delivers up to ∼4 × 10
photons to the sample, thereby achieving a time-averaged flux approaching that of fourth-generation X-FEL sources. A new high-power picosecond laser system delivers pulses tunable over the wavelength range 450–2000 nm. These pulses are synchronized to the storage-ring RF clock with long-term stability better than 10 ps RMS. Monochromatic experimental capability with Biosafety Level 3 certification has been retained.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As in many other hemoglobins, no direct route for migration of ligands between solvent and active site is evident from crystal structures of Scapharca inaequivalvis dimeric HbI. Xenon (Xe) and organic halide binding experiments, along with computational analysis presented here, reveal protein cavities as potential ligand migration routes. Time-resolved crystallographic experiments show that photodissociated carbon monoxide (CO) docks within 5 ns at the distal pocket B site and at more remote Xe4 and Xe2 cavities. CO rebinding is not affected by the presence of dichloroethane within the major Xe4 protein cavity, demonstrating that this cavity is not on the major exit pathway. The crystal lattice has a substantial influence on ligand migration, suggesting that significant conformational rearrangements may be required for ligand exit. Taken together, these results are consistent with a distal histidine gate as one important ligand entry and exit route, despite its participation in the dimeric interface.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Femtosecond time-resolved small and wide angle x-ray diffuse scattering techniques are applied to investigate the ultrafast nucleation processes that occur during the ablation process in semiconducting materials. Following intense optical excitation, a transient liquid state of high compressibility characterized by large-amplitude density fluctuations is observed and the buildup of these fluctuations is measured in real time. Small-angle scattering measurements reveal snapshots of the spontaneous nucleation of nanoscale voids within a metastable liquid and support theoretical predictions of the ablation process.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Polyglutamine (poly(Q)) expansion is associated with protein aggregation into beta-sheet amyloid fibrils and neuronal cytotoxicity. In the mutant poly(Q) protein huntingtin, associated with Huntington's disease, both aggregation and cytotoxicity may be abrogated by a polyproline (poly(P)) domain flanking the C terminus of the poly(Q) region. To understand structural changes that may occur with the addition of the poly(P) sequence, we synthesized poly(Q) peptides with 3-15 glutamine residues and a corresponding set of poly(Q) peptides flanked on the C terminus by 11 proline residues (poly(Q)-poly(P)), as occurs in the huntingtin sequence. The shorter soluble poly(Q) peptides (three or six glutamine residues) showed polyproline type II-like (PPII)-like helix conformation when examined by circular dichroism spectroscopy and were monomers as judged by size-exclusion chromatography (SEC), while the longer poly(Q) peptides (nine or 15 glutamine residues) showed a beta-sheet conformation by CD and defined oligomers by SEC. Soluble poly(Q)-poly(P) peptides showed PPII-like content but SEC showed poorly defined, overlapping oligomeric peaks, and as judged by CD these peptides retained significant PPII-like structure with increasing poly(Q) length. More importantly, addition of the poly(P) domain increased the threshold for fibril formation to approximately 15 glutamine residues. X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy, and film CD showed that, while poly(Q) peptides with >or=6 glutamine residues formed beta-sheet-rich fibrils, only the longest poly(Q)-poly(P) peptide (15 glutamine residues) did so. From these and other observations, we propose that poly(Q) domains exist in a "tug-of-war" between two conformations, a PPII-like helix and a beta-sheet, while the poly(P) domain is conformationally constrained into a proline type II helix (PPII). Addition of poly(P) to the C terminus of a poly(Q) domain induces a PPII-like structure, which opposes the aggregation-prone beta-sheet. These structural observations may shed light on the threshold phenomenon of poly(Q) aggregation, and support the hypothesized evolution of "protective" poly(P) tracts adjacent to poly(Q) aggregation domains.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2007 · Journal of Molecular Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The FixL protein of Bradyrhizobium japonicum is a dimeric oxygen sensor responsible for initiating regulation of transcription of genes encoding proteins involved in nitrogen fixation and oxidative stress. It consists of an N-terminal heme-bound PAS domain, denoted bjFixLH, and a C-terminal histidine kinase domain whose enzymatic activity depends on the ligation state of the heme. To investigate the molecular basis for this dependence and the dynamics associated with conversion between ligated and unligated states, we have conducted time-resolved Laue diffraction studies of CO recombination in bjFixLH. Time-dependent difference Fourier maps from 1 micros to 10 ms after photolysis of the heme-CO bond show movement of the side chain of Leu236 and the H and I beta-strands into the ligand binding pocket formerly occupied by CO. Long-range conformational changes are evident in the protein, driven by relaxation of steric interactions between the bound ligand and amino acid side chains and/or changes in heme stereochemistry. These structural changes fully reverse as CO rebinds to the heme. Spectroscopic measurements of CO recombination kinetics in bjFixLH crystals relate the behavior of crystalline bjFixLH to solution and provide a framework for our time-resolved crystallographic experiments. Analysis of the time-dependent difference Fourier maps by singular value decomposition reveals that only one significant singular value accounts for the data. Thus only two structural states are present, the photolyzed and the CO-bound states. The first left singular vector represents the difference in density between these two states and shows features common to difference maps calculated from the static CO and deoxy states. The first right singular vector represents the time course of this difference density and agrees well with the CO recombination kinetics measured spectroscopically. We refine the structure of the photolyzed state present in the early-microsecond time range and find that it does not differ significantly in conformation from static, deoxy bjFixLH. Thus, structural relaxation from CO-bound to deoxy bjFixLH is complete in less than 1 micros.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ultrafast decay of the x-ray diffraction intensity following laser excitation of an InSb crystal has been utilized to observe carrier dependent changes in the potential energy surface. For the first time, an abrupt carrier dependent onset for potential energy surface softening and the appearance of accelerated atomic disordering for a very high average carrier density have been observed. Inertial dynamics dominate the early stages of crystal disordering for a wide range of carrier densities between the onset of crystal softening and the appearance of accelerated atomic disordering.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Intense femtosecond laser excitation can produce transient states of matter that would otherwise be inaccessible to laboratory investigation. At high excitation densities, the interatomic forces that bind solids and determine many of their properties can be substantially altered. Here, we present the detailed mapping of the carrier density-dependent interatomic potential of bismuth approaching a solid-solid phase transition. Our experiments combine stroboscopic techniques that use a high-brightness linear electron accelerator-based x-ray source with pulse-by-pulse timing reconstruction for femtosecond resolution, allowing quantitative characterization of the interatomic potential energy surface of the highly excited solid.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: X-ray exposure during crystallographic data collection can result in unintended redox changes in proteins containing functionally important redox centers. In order to directly monitor X-ray-derived redox changes in trapped oxidative half-reaction intermediates of Paracoccus denitrificans methylamine dehydrogenase, a commercially available single-crystal UV/Vis microspectrophotometer was installed on-line at the BioCARS beamline 14-BM-C at the Advanced Photon Source, Argonne, USA. Monitoring the redox state of the intermediates during X-ray exposure permitted the creation of a general multi-crystal data collection strategy to generate true structures of each redox intermediate.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2007 · Journal of Synchrotron Radiation
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We investigate high amplitude coherent optical phonon dynamics in bismuth through femtosecond X-ray and optical scattering. From these experiments, we present the first detailed measurements of changes in the interatomic potential following high-density photoexcitation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Protein allostery provides mechanisms for regulation of biological function at the molecular level. We present here an investigation of global, ligand-induced allosteric transition in a protein by time-resolved x-ray diffraction. The study provides a view of structural changes in single crystals of Scapharca dimeric hemoglobin as they proceed in real time, from 5 ns to 80 micros after ligand photodissociation. A tertiary intermediate structure forms rapidly (<5 ns) as the protein responds to the presence of an unliganded heme within each R-state protein subunit, with key structural changes observed in the heme groups, neighboring residues, and interface water molecules. This intermediate lays a foundation for the concerted tertiary and quaternary structural changes that occur on a microsecond time scale and are associated with the transition to a low-affinity T-state structure. Reversal of these changes shows a considerable lag as a T-like structure persists well after ligand rebinding, suggesting a slow T-to-R transition.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2006 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mosaic structure of a single protein crystal was analyzed by reflection profiling and topography using highly parallel and monochromatic synchrotron radiation. Fine-'-sliced diffraction images (0.002 stills) were collected using a conventional large-area CCD detector in order to calculate reflection profiles. Fine-'-sliced topographic data (0.002) stills were collected with a digital topography system for three reflections in a region where the Lorentz effect was minimized. At room temperature, several different mosaic domains were clearly visible within the crystal. Without altering the crystal orientation, the crystal was cryogenically frozen (cryocooled) and the experiment was repeated for the same three reflections. Topographs at cryogenic temperatures reveal a significantly increased mosaicity, while the original domain structure is maintained. A model for the observed changes during cryocooling is presented.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2006 · Journal of Applied Crystallography
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Sub-Picosecond Photon Source (SPPS), in operation since May 2003, makes x-ray pulses of 100 fs. Spontaneous radiation originates from a short pulsed electron beam that passes through an undulator at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. New techniques characterize the x-rays, the electrons, and the timing jitter in real time. These results provide a framework for discussion of possible strong field experiments at SPPS and at future fourth-generation photon sources like the recently funded Linac Coherent Light Source.
No preview · Article · Oct 2005 · AIP Conference Proceedings
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The melting dynamics of laser excited InSb have been studied with femtosecond x-ray diffraction. These measurements observe the delayed onset of diffusive atomic motion, signaling the appearance of liquidlike dynamics. They also demonstrate that the root-mean-squared displacement in the  direction increases faster than in the  direction after the first 500 fs. This structural anisotropy indicates that the initially generated fluid differs significantly from the equilibrium liquid.
No preview · Article · Oct 2005 · Physical Review Letters
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: By using time-resolved x-ray crystallography at room temperature, structural relaxations and ligand migration were examined in myoglobin (Mb) mutant L29W from nanoseconds to seconds after photodissociation of carbon monoxide (CO) from the heme iron by nanosecond laser pulses. The data were analyzed in terms of transient kinetics by fitting trial functions to integrated difference electron density values obtained from select structural moieties, thus allowing a quantitative description of the processes involved. The observed relaxations are linked to other investigations on protein dynamics. At the earliest times, the heme has already completely relaxed into its domed deoxy structure, and there is no photo-dissociated CO visible at the primary docking site. Initial relaxations of larger globin moieties are completed within several hundred nanoseconds. They influence the concomitant migration of photo-dissociated CO to the Xe1 site, where it appears at approximately 300 ns and leaves again at approximately 1.5 ms. The extremely long residence time in Xe1 as compared with wild-type MbCO implies that, in the latter protein, the CO exits the protein from Xe1 predominantly via the distal pocket. A well-defined deligated state is populated between approximately 2 micros and approximately 1 ms; its structure is very similar to the equilibrium deoxy structure. Between 1.5 and 20 ms, no CO is visible in the protein interior; it is either distributed among many sites within the protein or has escaped to the solvent. Finally, recombination at the heme iron occurs after >20 ms.
Preview · Article · Aug 2005 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences