- The I23 beamline team
Scientists have cracked a puzzle they have been trying to solve for over two years thanks to the pioneering capabilities on Diamond’s new I23 beamline.
The group from St Andrew’s University were trying to determine the atomic structure of an oxidase protein from a family of peptides that have been linked to antimalarial and antitumor activity.
Unpicking the structure of the protein could be a very early step towards identifying potential new drug targets for medicines that prevent the spread of malaria and cancer. However no proteins of this type had ever been successfully solved in the past, and the process of finding the structure proved to be a real challenge.
The group attempted a number of different methods using techniques available in their university laboratories and other synchrotron beamlines, but they found that the quality of their data was not sufficient to determine the protein’s atomic structure. And so they opted to attempt the experiment using Diamond’s new I23 beamline, which offers advanced long-wavelength macromolecular crystallography. Tuning the wavelength in this way increases the contrast needed to directly solve the protein structure without additional modifications based on the intrinsic information arising from sulphur present in proteins. This technique proved the key to unlocking the elusive structure.
The St Andrews group entered into a collaboration with Diamond scientists, including principal beamline scientist Dr Armin Wagner and his team.