A. Yu. Gruzinov, M.A. Schroer, C.E. Blanchet, M. Graewert, Cy Jeffries and D.I. Svergun
Small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) is a powerful method in the studies of solutions of biological macromolecules and nanostructured systems allowing one to analyze the structure of native particles and complexes and to rapidly assess structural changes in response to variations in external conditions. Dedicated high brilliance synchrotron beamlines and novel data analysis methods significantly enhanced resolution and reliability of the structural models provided by SAXS. Very important is the ability of SAXS to quantitatively characterize complicated systems and mixtures in native environments and to see the biomolecules in action by rapidly observing responses to changing physical and chemical conditions (e.g. upon pH or temperature changes, ligand binding etc).
The high-brilliance beamline P12 of the EMBL at PETRA III (DESY) is dedicated to biological small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and is optimized for scattering experiments on macromolecular solutions. P12 offers automated sample delivery with on-line data processing capabilities but also tailored sample environments. Higher demands for SAXS data quality on the weak scattering biological samples require constant improvements in beamline hardware and software and exploring possibilities for the new techniques such as anomalous SAXS for biological samples. In this talk those recent improvements will be presented.