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Controlling crystallization!

Monitoring the crystallization of two enzymes vide

In this work published in Crystals used an innovative instrument called Xtal Controller (from Xtal concepts, Hamburg) to monitor the crystallization of two enzymes, a psychrophilic CCA-adding enzyme, and the lysozyme from hen egg white. The latter was crystallized in water, i.e. without salt acting as crystallant, but in the presence of a nucleant: the Tb-Xo4 crystallophore. The structure was solved on a home source (Instruct platform - IGBMC) at room temperature using the SAD signal of terbium. The article illustrates how this technology allows to grow different types of crystals on demand, ranging from microcrystals for XFEL analyses to large mm-size crystals for neutron analyses.

First pictures of mini tRNAs

mini-tRNAs vide

With an integrative approach combining on-line RNA probing, NMR and SAXS we showed that armless tRNAs found in the mitochondria of the nematode "Romanomermis culicivorax, the smallest tRNAs ever described, can adopt a banana shape close to that of a classical tRNA. Their dimension are very similar, suggesting that the interaction with main translation actors - like tRNA maturation enzymes, aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases, translation factors, ribosome - may not be very much affected.

This work was published in Nucleic Acids Research on September 28, 2018, and was highlighted on CNRS website and twitter account. This collaboration with the lab of Prof. Mario Mörl in Leipzig is a great example of French-German cooperation sponsored by the PROCOPE program and the French-German university (UFA-DFH).

PRORP2 : pre-tRNA complex at glance

PRORP : tRNA complex vide

RNase P is a universal enzyme that removes 5’ leader sequences from tRNA precursors. We used an integrative structural approach to investigated the interaction of nuclear PROtein-only RNase P PRORP2 from A. thaliana with tRNA substrates. The combination of complementary biochemical and biophysical analyses led to a refined model of the catalytic PRORP-tRNA complex which made the cover of JBC on August 25, 2017 !!! The work described by Pinker, Schelcher et al., 2017 is part of a collaboration with the group of Philippe Giegé at IBMP, strasbourg, and was supported by the French National Research Agency.

Diving into the heart of the molecules of Life

International Year of Crystallography vide

IYCr 2014 special edition available since August 22!

Synopsis: Taking atomic snapshots is very important to biologists who want to understand the architecture of the macromolecules that make up our cells. However, these nano-objects are far too small to be observed with a microscope. This is why other methods such as X-ray crystallography are needed to provide accurate images at an atomic scale. This film, "Diving into the heart of the molecules of life," follows the different steps of a crystallographic study and describes the work of researchers at CNRS (ARN laboratory, Institut de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, Strasbourg), from the purification of a macromolecule from living cells, its crystallisation and the analysis of the crystals using synchrotron radiation, to the assembly of a three-dimensional image. This movie covers several aspects of scientists' work which are not widely known: the cloning of biomolecules, the use of large instruments such as synchrotron X-ray sources, and 3D visualisation.
Direction: D. Sauter - Script: C. Sauter - Production: D. Sauter & C. Sauter

Teaser and movie in French

vide

We grew crystals at the Science Fair!

Science fair vide

Every year in October French scientists meet the public during the Science Fair (Fête de la Science). We decided to grow salt and protein crystals with our visitors to advertise for the International Year of Crystallography. Huge success, more than 250 crystal growers in three days...

ChipX in production

Crystallization ChipX vide First image of our new crystallization chips. The production is carried out by MicroLIQUID, a Spanish microfluidic company, with the support of the MRCT from CNRS. Test sessions will start soon with colleagues from beamline PROXIMA 2 at SOLEIL synchrotron.

PRORP RNase P in action

PRORP : tRNA complex

PRORP enzymes constitute a new family of RNase P which catalyse the 5' maturation of tRNA precursors in higher eukaryotes' mitochondria and in all cell compartments (nucleus, chloroplasts, mitochondria) in land plants. We provide the first description of the interaction between a PRORP from A. thaliana and its RNA target (Gobert, Pinker et al., 2013). This PRORNaseP project is a collaboration with the group of Philippe Giegé at IBMP, strasbourg, and is supported by the French National Research Agency.


Zoom on the Grapevine fanleaf virus (GFLV)

Grapevine fanleaf virus vide

The GFLV causes the fanleaf disease of the grapevine which leads to a dramatic drop of fruit production and quality. We recently managed to crystallize the virus (Schellenberger et al., 2011a). This collaboration with colleagues from IBMP in Strasbourg, INRA in Colmar and CBS in Montpellier led to the virus 3D structure at atomic resolution (Schellenberger et al., 2011b). This 3D picture will help us explore the virus surface and potential interaction pockets with the GFLV vector, a soil-born nematade, and the plant host. A new route towards a grapevine therapy?

Crystallization in agarose gel

You're looking for ideas to improve your crystals? Have you ever tried the crystallization of biomolecules and biological complexes using agarose gel in capillaries?

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