Versatile microporous polymer-based supports for serial macromolecular crystallography

Isabelle Martiel, John H. Beale, Agnieszka Karpik, Chia Ying Huang, Laura Vera, Natacha Olieric, Maximilian Wranik, Ching Ju Tsai, Jonas Mühle, Oskar Aurelius, Juliane John, Martin Högbom, Meitian Wang, May Marsh, Celestino Padeste

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)


Serial data collection has emerged as a major tool for data collection at state-of-the-art light sources, such as microfocus beamlines at synchrotrons and X-ray free-electron lasers. Challenging targets, characterized by small crystal sizes, weak diffraction and stringent dose limits, benefit most from these methods. Here, the use of a thin support made of a polymer-based membrane for performing serial data collection or screening experiments is demonstrated. It is shown that these supports are suitable for a wide range of protein crystals suspended in liquids. The supports have also proved to be applicable to challenging cases such as membrane proteins growing in the sponge phase. The sample-deposition method is simple and robust, as well as flexible and adaptable to a variety of cases. It results in an optimally thin specimen providing low background while maintaining minute amounts of mother liquor around the crystals. The 2 × 2 mm area enables the deposition of up to several microlitres of liquid. Imaging and visualization of the crystals are straightforward on the highly transparent membrane. Thanks to their affordable fabrication, these supports have the potential to become an attractive option for serial experiments at synchrotrons and free-electron lasers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1153-1167
Number of pages15
JournalActa Crystallographica Section D: Structural Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sep 1

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Structural Biology


  • Fixed target
  • Sample supports
  • Serial crystallography
  • SFX


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