Direct shape determination of intermediates in evolving macromolecular solutions from small-angle scattering data
IUCrJ | 14 Jul 2018
PV Konarev and DI Svergun
Many important biological processes like amyloid formation, viral assembly etc. can be monitored in vitro. Small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) is one of the most effective techniques to structurally characterize these processes in solution. For monodisperse systems and some oligomeric mixtures, low-resolution shapes can be determined ab initio from the SAXS data, but for evolving systems, such analysis is hampered by the presence of multiple species and no direct reconstruction procedures are available. The authors consider a frequently occurring case where the scattering from the initial and final states of the process are known but there exists a major (unknown) intermediate component. A method is presented to directly reconstruct the low-resolution shape of this transient component together with its volume fractions from multiple scattering patterns recorded from an evolving system. The method is implemented in the computer program DAMMIX freely available to academic users and its effectiveness is illustrated in several synthetic and experimental examples.
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