Exploring the structure of biological macromolecules in solution using Quokka, the small angle neutron scattering instrument, at ANSTO

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Journal Article
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, 2015, 798 pp. 44 - 51
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© 2015 Published by Elsevier B.V. Abstract Small angle neutron scattering (SANS) is widely used to extract structural parameters, shape and other types of information from a vast array of materials. The technique is applied to biological macromolecules and their complexes in solution to reveal information often not accessible by other techniques. SANS measurements on biomolecules present some particular challenges however, one of which is suitable instrumentation. This review details SANS experiments performed on two well-characterised globular proteins (lysozyme and glucose isomerase) using Quokka, the recently commissioned SANS instrument at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). The instrument configuration as well as data collection and reduction strategies for biological investigations are discussed and act as a general reference for structural biologists who use the instrument. Both model independent analysis of the two proteins and ab initio modelling illustrate that Quokka-SANS data can be used to successfully model the overall shapes of proteins in solution, providing a benchmark for users.
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