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The University of Southampton
The Southampton Diffraction Centre

Macromolecular diffraction

Proteins or nucleic acids can form crystals suitable for diffraction experiments. The SDC diffraction equipment provides the setup necessary to investigate these macromolecular crystals, which are larger and require different experimental conditions compared with their small molecule counterparts.

The regular nature of a crystal is utilised in a diffraction experiment ultimately allowing the determination of the atomic structure of the macromolecule. This information is useful for understanding how a drug molecule binds to its macromolecular target or how macromolecules interact, e.g. in signal transduction pathways or in gene expression. More generally the technique can tell us how macromolecules are shaped to perform their biological function.

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