The High-Throughput Crystallization Screening Center
The Crystallization Center supports industry, academic, government, and non-profit research institutes, providing unique crystallization resources for structural biology. Our methods have generated lead crystallization conditions for approximately half of all samples submitted and provided solubility phase information across 1,536 different chemical conditions – information that can guide optimization and troubleshoot recalcitrant systems. Since its began operations in February 2000, the Crystallization Center has set up over 25 million crystallization experiments on more than 18,000 biological macromolecules for almost 2,000 laboratories worldwide. Crystallization experiments are monitored with state-of-the-art imaging techniques, empowering the detection of crystals that other techniques miss. Our academic, government, and non-profit services are subsidized by NIH and NSF.
Crystallization Screening at HWI provides:
- Expert staff – Dr. Sarah Bowman has directed the Center for three years and works with scientific staff that have been operating the Center for close to two decades.
- State-of-the-art instrumentation – Brightfield (visual), second-order harmonic, and UV-two photon excited fluorescence techniques in a Rock Imager 1000 with SONICC are used, so no crystal is missed.
- Timely access – Runs are scheduled in advance on a monthly basis with multiple setup windows.
- A history of success – The Center has worked with academic, non-profit, government and industry users, and has screened over 18,000 proteins for close to 2,000 laboratories worldwide.
- Confidentiality – Information will not be publicly disclosed regarding any sample received for crystallization trials without the express written consent of the investigator(s).
Information for Upcoming Crystallization Screening
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the HWI Crystallization Center is active and able to support your scientific efforts, both on COVID-19 related projects and the crystallization of other targets. We are running a slightly extended run for December!
December Soluble Run
- Reservation Deadline: Friday Dec 4th
- Package Acceptance: Tues Dec 8th – Tues Dec 22nd
- Plate Setup:
- Tues Dec 8th – Thurs Dec 10th
- Mon Dec 14th – Thurs Dec 17th
- Mon Dec 21st – Tues Dec 22nd
Samples are not set up on Fridays
Get a Crystal:
How It Works
Check the run schedule and reserve a spot in the queue for an upcoming high-throughput crystallization screening run (see the buttons above).
1,536 non-redundant crystallization conditions are used to screen your sample using the microbatch-under-oil method, providing an efficient sampling of chemical parameter space. Each condition is imaged using state-of-the-art Formulatrix Rock Imagers over a period of six weeks. Imaging modalities include visual (brightfield) and Second-Order Non-linear Imaging of Chiral Crystals (SONICC), which includes Second Harmonic Generation (SHG) and UV-Two Photon Excited Fluorescence (UV-TPEF) imaging. SHG and UV-TPEF imaging can identify biological crystals not picked up visually or those obscured by precipitate. Brightfield, SHG, and UV-TPEF images are integrated with analysis software provided as part of the crystallization screening service.
The Crystallization Center Produces Results
The Crystallization Center has been a resource for structural biology providing enhanced high-throughput crystallization screening for SARS-CoV-2 protein samples. Dr. Sarah Bowman gave a lightning talk update on our progress at the COVID Commons with the Northesat Big Data Innovation Hub! We are providing crystallization screening experiments through our NSF RAPID funding.
Summer intern Ethan Hollerman won a Student Poster Prize at the 2020 LCLS/SSRL Users' Meeting for his work on implementing the MARCO algorithm into a new GUI! MARCO POLO is a multi-platform open-source Python-based graphical user interface that has been developed to provide access to MARCO automated classification and data management tools for biomolecular crystallization screening. MARCO is an academic and industry collaboration using image data from the Crystallization Center, Bristol-Myers...
Crystal structures of AztD from pathogenic bacteria by Crystallization Center user Professor Erik Yukl and team reveal mechanistic insights into zinc transfer! Initial crystal hits were obtained in the Crystallization Center and were optimized by the investigators using hanging drop vapor diffusion and microbatch under oil. High resolution diffraction data collected at the Advanced Light Source. Neupane, DP, et al. Crystal structures of AztD provide mechanistic insights into direct zinc...
The COVID-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has become a pandemic health crisis. An attractive target for antiviral inhibitors is the main protease 3CL Mpro due to its essential role in processing the polyproteins translated from viral RNA. The Crystallization Center worked with samples from Oak Ridge National Laboratory to help a study on room temperature X-ray structure of unliganded SARS-CoV-2 3CL Mpro. Inital crystal hits helped the researchers determine the ligand-free...
Transforming growth factor -1 (TGF-1) is a secreted signaling protein that directs many cellular processes and is an attractive target for the treatment of several diseases. This study looks at the regulatory mechanism of TGF-1 and is of fundamental importance for therapeutic development. Initial crystal hits were obtained from the Crystallization Center and X-ray data were collected on the IMCA beamline at the Advanced Photon Source. The study was published in a paper entitled “Structural...
Mutations in ABC subfamily C member 6 (ABCC6) transporter are associated with pseudoxanthoma elasticum, a disease resulting in ectopic mineralization and affecting multiple tissues. The Thibodeau Group recent paper explores these mutations. Crystallization screening of multiple proteins took place in the Crystallization Center with hits being optimized by the authors using sitting-drop vapor diffusion methods. Crystallographic data was collected on a Rigaku FR-E Superbright rotating anode...
Publications Citing the Crystallization Center
Crystallization Center Staff
MacroscopeJ & macOS Upgrades
The new version of MacroscopeJ is compatible with Catalina macOS and is in your ftp folder when you transfer images – please let us know if you have any issues!
Please note that macOS 11.0 ‘Big Sur’ is due out this year, and will have entirely new hardware architecture. We recommend that users hold off on upgrading to macOS 11.0 immediately so that we can update our software accordingly.
Accessing your images via the ftp server
Because of recent changes for both Mac and Windows OS, we recommend using FileZilla to access and transfer imagers from the ftop servers, as it works across platforms.
For more details: Analyze Your Results
High-Throughput Crystallization Screening Center
Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute
700 Ellicott Street
Buffalo, NY 14203