Solving protein nanocrystals by cryo-EM diffraction: Multiple scattering artifacts

Ganesh Subramanian, Shibom Basu, Haiguang Liu, Jian Min Zuo, John Spence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

The maximum thickness permissible within the single-scattering approximation for the determination of the structure of perfectly ordered protein microcrystals by transmission electron diffraction is estimated for tetragonal hen-egg lysozyme protein crystals using several approaches. Multislice simulations are performed for many diffraction conditions and beam energies to determine the validity domain of the required single-scattering approximation and hence the limit on crystal thickness. The effects of erroneous experimental structure factor amplitudes on the charge density map for lysozyme are noted and their threshold limits calculated. The maximum thickness of lysozyme permissible under the single-scattering approximation is also estimated using R-factor analysis. Successful reconstruction of density maps is found to result mainly from the use of the phase information provided by modeling based on the protein data base through molecular replacement (MR), which dominates the effect of poor quality electron diffraction data at thicknesses larger than about 200 Å. For perfectly ordered protein nanocrystals, a maximum thickness of about 1000 Å is predicted at 200 keV if MR can be used, using R-factor analysis performed over a subset of the simulated diffracted beams. The effects of crystal bending, mosaicity (which has recently been directly imaged by cryo-EM) and secondary scattering are discussed. Structure-independent tests for single-scattering and new microfluidic methods for growing and sorting nanocrystals by size are reviewed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-93
Number of pages7
JournalUltramicroscopy
Volume148
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2015

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Keywords

  • Charge density map
  • Electron diffraction
  • Lysozyme
  • Multiple scattering
  • Protein crystallography
  • R-factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials

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