Femtosecond X-ray coherent diffraction of aligned amyloid fibrils on low background graphene

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Carolin Seuring, Kartik Ayyer, Eleftheria Filippaki, Miriam Barthelmess, Jean-Nicolas Longchamp, Philippe Ringler, Tommaso Pardini, David H Wojtas, Matthew A Coleman, Katerina Dörner, Silje Fuglerud, Greger Hammarin, Birgit Habenstein, Annette E Langkilde, Antoine Loquet, Alke Meents, Roland Riek, Henning Stahlberg, Sébastien Boutet, Mark S Hunter & 7 others Jason Koglin, Mengning Liang, Helen M Ginn, Rick P Millane, Matthias Frank, Anton Barty, Henry N Chapman

Here we present a new approach to diffraction imaging of amyloid fibrils, combining a free-standing graphene support and single nanofocused X-ray pulses of femtosecond duration from an X-ray free-electron laser. Due to the very low background scattering from the graphene support and mutual alignment of filaments, diffraction from tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) filaments and amyloid protofibrils is obtained to 2.7 Å and 2.4 Å resolution in single diffraction patterns, respectively. Some TMV diffraction patterns exhibit asymmetry that indicates the presence of a limited number of axial rotations in the XFEL focus. Signal-to-noise levels from individual diffraction patterns are enhanced using computational alignment and merging, giving patterns that are superior to those obtainable from synchrotron radiation sources. We anticipate that our approach will be a starting point for further investigations into unsolved structures of filaments and other weakly scattering objects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1836
JournalNature Communications
Volume9
Issue number1
Number of pages10
ISSN2041-1723
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2018

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