Ultra-intense femtosecond X-ray pulses from X-ray lasers permit structural studies on single particles and biomolecules without crystals. We present a large data set on inherently heterogeneous, polyhedral carboxysome particles. Carboxysomes are cell organelles that vary in size and facilitate up to 40% of Earth's carbon fixation by cyanobacteria and certain proteobacteria. Variation in size hinders crystallization. Carboxysomes appear icosahedral in the electron microscope. A protein shell encapsulates a large number of Rubisco molecules in paracrystalline arrays inside the organelle. We used carboxysomes with a mean diameter of 115±26 nm from Halothiobacillus neapolitanus. A new aerosol sample-injector allowed us to record 70,000 low-noise diffraction patterns in 12 min. Every diffraction pattern is a unique structure measurement and high-throughput imaging allows sampling the space of structural variability. The different structures can be separated and phased directly from the diffraction data and open a way for accurate, high-throughput studies on structures and structural heterogeneity in biology and elsewhere.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistics and Probability
- Information Systems
- Computer Science Applications
- Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
- Library and Information Sciences