Solving a new R2lox protein structure by microcrystal electron diffraction

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Science Advances  07 Aug 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 8, eaax4621
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax4621


Microcrystal electron diffraction (MicroED) has recently shown potential for structural biology. It enables the study of biomolecules from micrometer-sized 3D crystals that are too small to be studied by conventional x-ray crystallography. However, to date, MicroED has only been applied to redetermine protein structures that had already been solved previously by x-ray diffraction. Here, we present the first new protein structure—an R2lox enzyme—solved using MicroED. The structure was phased by molecular replacement using a search model of 35% sequence identity. The resulting electrostatic scattering potential map at 3.0-Å resolution was of sufficient quality to allow accurate model building and refinement. The dinuclear metal cofactor could be located in the map and was modeled as a heterodinuclear Mn/Fe center based on previous studies. Our results demonstrate that MicroED has the potential to become a widely applicable tool for revealing novel insights into protein structure and function.

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