In order to map the 3-D model of GPCR, an important cellular gatekeeper, researchers have now used one of the brightest X-ray sources ever. The new technique is a major advance in exploring GPCRs, a vast, hard-to-study family of proteins that plays a key role in human health and is targeted by an estimated 40 percent of modern medicines.
The research, performed at the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser at the Department of Energy's (DOE's) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, is also a leap forward for structural biology experiments at LCLS, which has opened up many new avenues for exploring the molecular world since its launch in 2009.
"For the first time we have a room-temperature, high-resolution structure of one of the most difficult to study but medically important families of membrane proteins," said Vadim Cherezov, a pioneer in GPCR research at The Scripps Research Institute who led the experiment. "And we have validated this new method so that it can be confidently used for solving new structures."