Imaging dynamic molecular changes
The EU-funded 'Visualizing molecular structural dynamics' (VISDYNAMICS) project has further developed the time-resolved WAXS technique to visualise the structural dynamics of molecular systems. The research included a revised computational analysis method to analyse the data from the diffraction technique. Researchers successfully developed and broadened the application of the time-resolved WAXS method. A paper on the results features in the peer-reviewed Journal of Applied Crystallography. Work focused on fusion of lipid bilayers. Forming the structural foundation of cell membranes, including transport systems and the outer cell membrane itself, lipid bilayers are an important target of biomedical research. The bilayer fusion process occurs in many important processes in the cell, including transport of waste and entry of pathogens into the confines of the cell. The team identified a large structural rearrangement in a sensory photoreceptor protein. Involved in sensing light levels in plants, bacteria and fungi, the protein undergoes changes and participates in the cellular signalling network. VISDYNAMICS has refined and provided a system of analysis for an imaging technique to determine the crystalline structure of polymers. As polymers are literally the backbone of many biological and organically based industrial materials, the refined WAXS technique has a wide range of potential applications.
Wide-angle X-ray scattering, molecular systems, lipid bilayers, photoreceptor protein, polymers