3D electron diffraction of protein nanocrystals: a new scenario in the field of crystallography

The research groups lead by Mauro Gemmi and Gianpiero Garau at the Center for Nanotechnology Innovation of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia located in Pisa (Italy), determined for the first time the structure of a new polymorph of a protein by collecting 3D electron diffraction data from single nanocrystals. Obtaining crystals of sufficient size in the micrometer range for diffraction data collection is well known to be the major bottleneck of protein crystallography, the most powerful methodology to investigate at atomic level how proteins and other biostructures are made, function and interact in living organisms. The IIT researchers demonstrated that also protein nanocrystals, obtained at the first stages of the crystallization process and invisible in optical microscopes, can be used for the characterization of protein architectures. This result opens innovative scenarios in the field of crystallography of biomaterials and discovery of novel drugs by structure-based design.

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CNI is back in operation!

From today 4th of May CNI has started its way to go back to normal operation. Following the recommended safety procedures for COVID-19, the researchers started their activities in the TEM, Raman spectroscopy, 2D materials growth and characterization laboratories. Soon chemical synthesis and nanoteranostic will follow. The number of researchers that enter the lab every day is still limited but as the things will go better it will growth to normal condition. We hope also that soon PhD students and master student can join us prosecuting their thesis projects.