Fragment-based screening is now well-established as a powerful approach to early drug ("lead") discovery.
Yes! This is a world-wide first facility, so we welcome international proposals; allocations will be based on the strength of the science case.
That's probably premature - you really do need to know that you have a crystal system that diffracts beyond 3A-ish and for which you've solved the structure. And unless it diffracts terrifically on the home source, do send it to a synchrotron first: there's a lot of beamtime available around the world these days.
Take a look at the Tips and Tricks page, where we've tried to capture things we've learnt from our many users and projects this last year. Chances are though you'll have to work more on optimising the construct, or figure out what to add to the protein (biological partners? nanobodies? crystallization chaperones?) to get a better biological entity. This quickly becomes a question for your supervisor or collaborator or the ccp4 bulletin board.
We've gone to a lot of trouble to have high-quality and interesting libraries; full details on the Fragment Libraries sub-page, where you can download the libraries too.
However, you are also welcome to bring your own, as long as they're in Echo-compatible plates. And we're very keen to know if you figure out why yours give better results than ours - we're also learning!
Like many experiments, fragment screening is deceptive: performing an experiment with a simple-to-run biophysical technique is indeed not hard; making sense of the outcome is a different story. As experienced practitioners like to say, it's a great way to generate artefacts.
The most sensitive and discriminating technique remains crystallography, and that's not easy at all: there's so much faff involved, you're definitely better off outsourcing the problem - which is what we did for you.
Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.
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