Methodology development in time resolved biophysics
Working group chair – Matteo Levantino (Italy)
Despite the many advances in different high resolution structural techniques it is clear that no one method is currently able to provide a complete description of a macromolecular structure and its functionally related dynamics. Structural methods able to be used in a time-resolved fashion are clearly needed in order to understand how macromolecular motions dermine the way biomolecules function. Time-resolved X-ray crystallography is limited to systems that crystallize and are able to function in the crystal. NMR is very sensitive to equilibrium dynamics, but is limited in its use for fast time-resolved measurements, and requires complex labelling strategies for larger systems. X-ray solution scattering techniques (SAXS and WAXS) can visualise large scale structural changes but with limited structural resolution. Neutron scattering is sensitive to global equilibrium dynamics, but without very complex labelling strategies lacks precision.
WG1 aims to stimulate the use of a combination of structurally sensitive techniques in order to perform time-resolved experiments on biomolecules. At the same time, the integration of such methods with both correlated spectral measurements and computational methods will be sought as a very powerful route to a more in depth description of macromolecular systems. This kind of approach is now being undertaken by a number of groups, including those associated with CM1306 COST Action, but typically only a few techniques are combined together due to a lack of access to dedicated facilities, expertise or simply awareness of what is possible. By providing a forum for researchers to exchange expertise and best practice, WG1 will stimulate the application of combined methodologies in order to obtain a description of selected macromolecular systems with high structural and time resolution.
Working Group 1 objectives
1) Exchange of information and expertise (both experimental and computational) with Working Groups 2, 3, 4 and 5
2) Promote the combination of simultaneous complementary structural methods
3) Promote the integration of time-resolved structural methods with spectroscopic measurements (WG3) and computational tools (WG4)
4) Stimulate the development of improved time-resolution and reaction triggering methods (in collaboration with WG3) in structural measurements
5) Improve links between methodology groups and the biology user base (WG5)