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SSRL Headlines Vol. 1, No. 11  May, 2001


Contents of This Issue:

  1. Science Highlight — Working Together in Harmony at the Molecular Level: Cooperativity in Protein Function Regulation
  2. Article Highlights SSRL Faculty Research on Brain Communications
  3. Welch Foundation Visit
  4. WHO Visits SSRL
  5. Request for Nominations for Annual Farrel W. Lytle Award
  6. User Research Administration Announcements
  7. Job Opportunities at SSRL

1.  Science Highlight - Working Together in Harmony at the Molecular Level: Cooperativity in Protein Function Regulation
(contacts: Evan Kantrowitz, evan.kantrowitz@bc.edu, and Hiro Tsuruta, tsuruta@ssrl.slac.stanford.edu)

The combined use of x-ray crystallography and solution small angle x-ray scattering has enabled a research collaboration involving scientists from Boston College and SSRL to provide structural evidence supporting a 30-year old model which accounts for the cooperative binding of ligands to allosteric proteins and enzymes - a function central to physiology and cellular processes. Using solution x-ray scattering data recorded at SSRL's BL4-2 to monitor global structural state, the Kantrowitz group and collaborators showed the first structural evidence that the transition of only one catalytic monomer of E. coli aspartate transcarbamoylase is sufficient to transform the entire enzyme into the highly active state.

More information regarding this research (published in Nature Struct. Biol. 8(5) 423-426, 2001) can be found at:

2.  Article Highlights SSRL Faculty Research on Brain Communications

Professor Axel Brunger's group at Stanford University is conducting groundbreaking research that bridges the gaps between traditional scientific disciplines. They use synchrotron-based x-ray crystallography to study proteins involved in communication between neurons in the brain. In an article appearing in the May 23, 2001 issue of the Stanford Report, Betsy Mason highlighted this work on the function of proteins in regulating the brain's communication system. As described in this article, "Brunger and his graduate students and postdoctoral fellows have pinned down the structure of more than 10 proteins and protein complexes involved in neurotransmission. Having a picture of these structures will help scientists understand their function."

Axel, who joined Stanford in August 2000, holds a joint appointment in three departments - SSRL, Molecular and Cellular Physiology, and Neurology and Neurological Sciences. He also is an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and is associated with the new Bio-X program at Stanford.

Stanford Report article

3.  Welch Foundation Visit
(contact: Peter Kuhn, kuhn@stanford.edu)

As was briefly mentioned in last month's Headlines, Professor Roger Kornberg of the Department of Structural Biology at Stanford has been named the 2001 winner of the prestigious Welch Award in Chemistry for his pioneering work in elucidating the process of transcription -- in which the genome (DNA) is "read" and transcribed (i.e., copied) a message (RNA) that directs the cellular machinery (the ribosome) in protein synthesis. The Welch Foundation formally announced the award during a May 23 luncheon held at Stanford in Roger's honor (http://www.welch1.org/ pressrl2.htm) and the formal presentation of the award will take place later this year at the chemical conference hosted by the foundation in Houston. Norbert Dittrich, President of the Welch Foundation and Norman Hackerman, chief scientific advisor of the Welch Foundation, joined Roger for a visit to SSRL prior to the luncheon. The visit included a tour of Structural Molecular Biology (SMB) Beam Lines 9-2 and 11-1. Here they gained first-hand experience and insight into the state-of-the-art instrumentation and systems integration that helped Roger and his group solve the large structure of Yeast RNA Polymerase II in resting and active states - contributions to the wealth of science that lead to this important recognition of Roger's research. A research highlight and links to recent publications on this research can be found at http://smb.slac.stanford.edu/science/RNA_polymerase/.

4.  WHO Visits SSRL

Representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO) visited SSRL and SLAC on Wednesday, May 23rd. Visitors included Dr. Yuji Kawaguchi, MD, PhD, Director of the Center for Health Development, WHO. Dr. Kawaguchi is Former Executive Director of WHO headquarters and Former Chief Mission of Japanese Government to WHO. Joining Dr. Kawaguchi on this visit were Visiting Prof. Takeshi Tsubo, Dr. Toshihiko Nishimura, and Mr. K. Yamanouchi. The WHO is the largest technical agency in charge of global health for the United Nations. It has two independent research institutions outside of WHO headquarters. One is the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France, and the other is the Center for Health Development in Kobe, Japan. The visitors were especially interested in medical applications of synchrotron radiation including tomography and structure-based drug design.

5.  Request for Nominations for Annual Farrel W. Lytle Award

The Annual Farrel W. Lytle Award, which consists of a plaque and $1000, was established by the SSRL Users' Organization Executive Committee ( SSRLUOEC ) to promote important technical or scientific accomplishments in synchrotron radiation-based science and to foster collaboration and efficient use of beam time among users and staff at SSRL. To nominate an individual for the Lytle Award, please briefly summarize the individual's contributions in a few paragraphs (1-2 pages maximum), including the candidate's name and contact information, as well as the nominator's contact information. We URGE you all to send in your nominations - this is an excellent opportunity to recognize the contributions of users or staff to doing/enabling outstanding synchrotron-based science at SSRL! The award will be presented at the upcoming SSRL Users Meeting, October 18-19, 2001.

Nominations can be forwarded via e-mail to Cathy Knotts (knotts@slac.stanford.edu) or by hard copy at the following address:

Cathy Knotts
Manager, User Research Administration
2575 Sand Hill Road
Menlo Park, CA 94025

6.  User Research Administration Announcements
(contacts: Cathy Knotts, knotts@slac.stanford.edu, and Lisa Dunn, lisa@ssrl.slac.stanford.edu)

  • Macromolecular Crystallography Proposal Deadline - New proposals and renewal applications for Macromolecular Crystallography are due July 1. More information about proposal submissions can be obtained at: http://www-ssrl.slac.stanford.edu/call-for-proposals.html
  • Operation Schedule - SSRL beam line operations will end on July 3 at 4 p.m. for the summer shutdown. This summer will also see extensive SPEAR3 related conventional construction as well as a number of other upgrades and improvements. Beam lines are scheduled to reopen on Monday, November 5, 2001.
  • Annual Users' Meeting - The 28th Annual SSRL Users' Meeting will be held on October 18-19, 2001. The meeting will be held at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) in Menlo Park, California. More details will be available in the near future.
  • Staff Changes in User Research Administration (URA) - We are pleased to welcome Daphne Mitchell as the newest member of the URA team. Many users may remember Daphne as a contact person for the SMB group where she assisted with scheduling and user support for BL1-5. As part of the URA team, Daphne will be the primary contact person for user check in and coordinating user safety training. URA is sad to say goodbye to Amanda Prado, but glad that she will be remaining with SSRL, providing administrative support for the Joint Center for Structural Genomics (JCSG) activity.

7.  SSRL Job Opportunities
(contact: Stephanie Carlson - steph@slac.stanford.edu)

SSRL currently has positions available for mechanical, electronic and beam line engineers, technicians and administrative staff. More information is available at the following web site: http://www-ssrl.slac.stanford.edu/jobs.html

SSRL Headlines is published electronically monthly to inform SSRL users, sponsors and other interested people about happenings at SSRL. SSRL is a national synchrotron user facility operated by Stanford University for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Basic Energy Sciences. Additional support for the structural biology program is provided by the DOE Office of Biological and Environmental Research, the NIH National Center for Research Resources and the NIH Institute for General Medical Sciences. Additional information about SSRL and its operation and schedules is available from the SSRL WWW site: http://www-ssrl.slac.stanford.edu/

You can subscribe or remove your name from the distribution list by sending a brief email with your request to Lisa Dunn, editor, at lisa@ssrl.slac.stanford.edu.


Last Updated: 25 MAY 2001
Content Owner: L. Dunn
Page Editor: L. Dunn