Nov. 16, 2020
Thank you to all those who joined us for the first ever Virtual Edition of the CLS Mx Data Collection School, November 12-13, 2020! With over 50 participants, this was our largest attendance yet. We hope to meet you all in person one day, and to see you collecting data on the beamlines in 2021.Find more information about the Annual MxSchool here!
Resources for Covid-19-related research
March 23, 2020
The CMCF is currently accommodating priority Covid-19-related research. Further details about measures being taken at the CLS are available here.Resources at other facilities have also become available for researchers wishing to access remote beam time for urgent research related to Covid-19. The following facilities may be accepting proposals for such work:- Advanced Photon Source- ALBA Synchrotron- BESSY II at HZB- Diamond Light Source- Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste- European Synchrotron Radiation Faclity- MAX IV- National Synchrotron Light Source II- Petra III at DESY- Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource- Swiss Light SourceImage is of a human coronavirus receptor binding domain; PDB ID 6U7E.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Dec. 20, 2019
The CLS will be in holiday shutdown and closed December 24 (noon) until January 2, 2020. We wish you a safe and pleasant holiday season, a Merry Christmas, and look forward to a happy New Year!Details
Exciting things are happening at the beamline!
Dec. 16, 2019
In preparation for the CMCF-ID upgrade, several major new components have been delivered to the CLS, with more on the way. Items delivered include the new in-vacuum undulator, Eiger 9M detector, and Arinax MD2-S diffractometer (pictured here). We anticipate shutting down the CMCF-ID beamline for upgrades during the spring 2020 facility shutdown period, during which time the new insertion device will be installed, and installation of the new beamline components will begin. Commissioning is expected to last about 6 months, with an expected return to service in January 2021. To alleviate the loss of beam time during this period, we will accommodate most experiments on the CMCF-BM beamline, which is also receiving a minor upgrade including higher flux and improved sample change times (already completed), as well as a Pilatus 3 S 6M detector (to be installed spring 2020). For details about the upgrade project, please visit the Upgrade Projects link.
Advancing key upgrade objectives including higher throughput on CMCF-BM…
March 5, 2019
The CLS will be in scheduled maintenance mode during the March – May period with normal operations expected during the summer months of June – September 2019. CMCF will be taking advantage of this opportunity to advance a number of beamline upgrades. CMCF-BM will receive a double-multilayer monochromator (DMM) upgrade. The goal is to add a fixed-energy high-flux mode to the beamline, while maintaining the beamline’s current capabilities. SAD/MAD experiments requiring energy changes will still make use of the original optics, while the high-flux mode will allow native data collection at fixed energy with pink-beam (0.45% ΔE/E), having an approximate order of magnitude higher flux. The SAM automounter will also undergo a software upgrade with the goal of improving sample change times. CMCF-ID will see the installation of a replacement goniometer with the goal of improving the sample position stability and sphere of confusion. The CMCF-ID DCM will undergo repairs to fix issues with the sagittal bender that resulted in lower flux during the last run. We expect that CMCF-ID will be operating normally during the June – September period. The CMCF-BM upgrade is expected to be complete near the end of June, with normal operations resuming by July.Full Story
More samples, more problems!
Jan. 14, 2019
Over the past years, the CMCF has invested in over 100 Uni-Pucks to facilitate introduction of efficient automated methods that allow Remote Control, with significant time and cost-savings from reduced travel. The equipment facilitates bringing new User Groups into the life of the facility and is used heavily for the annual CLS Mx Data Collection School. We hope to continue having loaner Uni-Pucks and tools available for those who may occasionally need extra equipment, and to support the introduction of new research groups.At the moment, the CMCF has no more loaner Uni-Pucks available. If your group has been considering the purchase of dedicated Uni-Pucks and tools, it would be an ideal time for CLS Uni-Pucks that are being replaced to be returned to the CMCF for the benefit of the community.Please feel free to contact us for advice on purchasing Uni-Pucks or other equipment. There is information along with links to suppliers on the CMCF Samples & Automounters page. We hope that the availability of the loaner equipment has served CMCF Users well and we hope to be able to continue this tradition!
Shut-down extended until January 2019...
Sept. 28, 2018
On June 27, the facility's electron source failed, resulting in loss of beam. Several malfunctioning components were identified in the main electron gun’s power supply. After initial repairs, CLS staff members determined that the power supply’s transformer needed to be replaced. We regret the impact this outage will have on affected projects, and CLS staff are doing everything possible to resolve the problem. In order to complete the repairs, the CLS has had to cancel user shifts until January 2019.Link to CLS information page
CLS extends shutdown to repair electron gun…
July 30, 2018
On June 27, the facility's electron source failed, resulting in loss of beam. Several malfunctioning components were identified in the main electron gun’s power supply. After initial repairs, CLS staff members determined that the power supply’s transformer needed to be replaced. We regret the impact this outage will have on affected projects, and CLS staff are doing everything possible to resolve the problem. In order to complete the repairs, the CLS has had to cancel user shifts until November. Additionally, the CLS will not be opening the August call for new proposals.Full CLS News Story
Exploring how coronavirus adapts to new situations...
July 27, 2018
Coronavirus spike protein mediates receptor binding and fusion of viral and host cell membranes. Results from this project provide a model for coronavirus adaptation to environmental changes based on the use of three extended loops for receptor binding, with such loop regions being inherently accommodating to mutational changes. Given their wide host range and zoonotic transmission to humans, coronavirus provides an important model for studying RNA viruses and emergence of new viral threats.PDB ID 6ATK.
How the immune system responds to bacterial infections...
July 27, 2018
LPS is a major bacterial component recognized by the immune system, eliciting an inflammatory response followed by a state of immune tolerance. Acyloxyacyl hydrolase detoxifies LPS to re-establish sensitivity for subsequent infections. The structures described in this work address the questions of LPS recognition and selectivity toward acyl chains. Here, human acyloxyacyl hydrolase is shown with myristic, lauric and palmitic acids hidden deep within a hydrophobic pocket. PDB ID 5W78.Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 115, E896
Novel therapeutic targets for cardiac disease and cancer...
July 27, 2018
Protein O-fucosyltransferase 1 (POFUT1) fucosylates cell-surface and secreted glycoproteins including Notch, which is critical during cellular development. Aberrations in this pathway may be linked to generalized Dowling-Degos disease. POFUT1 may also be a novel therapeutic target for cardiac disease and cancer. In this structure obtained from Mail-In data, mouse POFUT1 is in complex with mouse Notch1 EGF26 and GDP. PDB ID 5KY4.Nat. Chem. Biol. 13, 757
How bacteria can inactivate certain classes of antibiotics...
July 27, 2018
Macrolides are a class of antibiotic used to treat respiratory tract, skin, and soft tissue infections especially in patients sensitive to β-lactam antibiotics. But, bacteria can inactivate them with macrolide phosphotransferase enzymes. In this structure, azithromycin is bound near the active site of macrolide 2’-phosphotransferase type I, with guanosine. The large antibiotic binding pocket accommodates a variety of macrolides, explaining the broad-spectrum resistance conferred by these enzymes. PDB ID 5IGI.Structure 25, 750
How cells overcome some of the toxic effects of benzopyrene...
July 27, 2018
Benzo[a]pyrene (BP) is a frequently-encountered carcinogen that generates a bulky DNA adduct. DNA polymerase kappa is the only known polymerase that can bypass the adduct accurately and protect cells from genotoxic effects. In this Mail-In project, the authors compare binding of normal DNA with BP-adducted DNA to unravel the unique mechanism for accurate replication. PDB ID 4U7C.Nucleic Acids Res. 44, 4957
Applications open for the 8th Annual event! Application Deadline April 10...
April 3, 2018
Applications are open for the 8th Annual CLS Mx Data Collection School, being held June 4 - 8, 2018. This is an intensive 5-day hands-on data collection school intended to equip participants to effectively collect crystal diffraction data at the synchrotron as well as make use of the CMCF beamlines remotely. Attendance is limited so early application is encouraged. Application deadline is April 10. See the School webpage for more information.CLS Mx Data Collection School Homepage
A new portal with common login for training, proposal submissions and beamtime requests...
Jan. 12, 2018
Recently the CLS has transitioned to a new User Portal with additional features that you should be aware of. You can log in at https://user-portal.lightsource.ca using the same username and password that you use to access the CLS training system. If you have any trouble accessing the new User Portal, or using any of the new features, please email the USO at email@example.com or call 306-657-3700. You should have received an email from the Users Office with details and a link to some instructions: User Portal Help Once you've logged in, please confirm any pending agreements on your dashboard and check your profile for accuracy. At the start of your beamtime, you will have an Active Session available on your dashboard. When the beamline is ready, your local contact will be in touch, as usual, if you have any questions about the Sign-On process.CLS User Portal
And best wishes in the new year!
Dec. 20, 2017
This year marked the 1000th protein structure identified using data collected at the CMCF, and deposited to the PDB. This image comprises one "pixel" for each of those proteins, and represents our users' contributions to research in cancer, heart disease, HIV, Parkinson's, antibiotic resistance, neurodegenerative diseases, and much, much more.
Featuring improved crystal centering, automation & collection options plus many new features for a more efficient data collection experience...
Dec. 18, 2017
CMCF Users will notice a change in the CMCF data acquisition software, MxDC. MxDC now has additional features, including automatic customizable directory creation, improved automatic crystal centering, vector data collection and improved in-app data analysis for Mx experiments as well as XAS, EXAFS and powder diffraction. For a description of the changes and new features, please visit the MxDC page!MxDC Highlights
New CMCF-ID IRELEC ISARA sample changer used for the first time...
Dec. 12, 2017
We are happy to announce that the first session of data collection using the newly-installed IRELEC ISARA sample changer on beamline CMCF-ID occurred on November 30, 2017. Dr. Trevor Moraes and colleagues from the University of Toronto were the first to put the new capabilities to the test during a remote data collection session. This upgrade follows on the heels of the installation of a new Pilatus detector and, together, these components allow much higher sample throughput on CMCF-ID. The new sample changer on CMCF-ID now accepts Uni-Pucks only. There is no change to the sample changer on the CMCF-BM beamline which hosts the SAM sample changer. Please visit the Samples & Automounters page in the User Guide for more details about the sample changers and compatible containers for each beamline.Samples & Automounters
Simple, secure & streamlined sample tracking and data management...
Dec. 12, 2017
MxLIVE (Mx Laboratory Information Virtual Environment) is the CMCF Laboratory Information Management System that helps your lab organize samples, shipments and experiment information. It serves to integrate your lab with data collection at CMCF beamlines and allows effective use of the sample automounters through the MxDC data collection software. MxLIVE is used in conjunction with MxDC so members of your team can easily check on the progress of experiments taking place at the beamlines and download datasets as they are collected. CMCF Users will notice recent updates to MxLIVE, including streamlined sample information entry that does not rely on spreadsheets, along with new data management options. After logging in, Users will be presented with a brief outline of the new features, which can also be found on the MxLIVE User Guide Page.MxLIVE User Guide Page
Celebrating two milestones reached by scientists who conducted their research at the CMCF
Nov. 23, 2017
CMCF Users have now published 1,000 structures using data collected at the CMCF. There are also 500 peer-reviewed publications acknowledging data collected at the CMCF beamlines. We are pleased to announce that the 1,000th structure is the crystal structure of circumsporozoite protein aTSR domain in complex with 1710 antibody (PDB ID 6B0S, depicted in the image). This structure is part of Jean-Philippe Julien's research into developing a vaccine that prevents the malaria parasite from causing infections. Dr. Julien holds a Canada Research Chair in Structural Immunology and is a scientist in Molecular Medicine at The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, as well as assistant professor in the departments of biochemistry and immunology at the University of Toronto. The 500th paper was the result of research by Mirek Cygler's laboratory at the University of Saskatchewan. Using crystallography as well as other techniques, they now have a better understanding of how iron-sulfur clusters are synthesized in the body. These clusters are key components of many proteins critical to life, and defects in the formation of the clusters can cause severe neurological and metabolic diseases, often with fatal outcomes. The findings were published in Nature Communications [Boniecki, MT; Freibert, SA; Mühlenhoff, U; Lill, R; Cygler, M (2017), Structure and functional dynamics of the mitochondrial Fe/S cluster synthesis complex, Nature Communications 8(1)] . Dr. Cygler holds a Canada Research Chair in Molecular Medicine Using Synchrotron Light and is a professor in the department of biochemistry at the University of Saskatchewan.Full CLS News Story
Researchers combine CMCF-BM, CMCF-ID, SAXS & electron microscopy data to discover B-cell CD22 interaction details critical to a healthy immune response...
Oct. 11, 2017
CD22 is a B-cell surface protein involved in regulating the immune response. CD22 knockout mice, for example, have a higher rate of autoimmune disease. CD22's role has been known for some time, but a detailed molecular understanding has been lacking. Now, researchers from the University of Toronto and Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) have presented a detailed structural model of this key immune component. Combining X-ray crystallography, SAXS and electron microscopy, the researchers describe the molecular structure of human CD22 alone as well as in complex with a sialyllactose ligand or a therapeutic antibody. Initial crystallographic phasing of a portion of CD22 was accomplished by performing a Hg-MAD experiment on beamline CMCF-BM. The resulting structure allowed solution of the structures of the complexes, for which date were obtained on beamline CMCF-ID. SAXS and electron microscopy data rounded out the picture with the result being a description of the full-length extracellular portion of CD22. The work provides key information about the mechanisms controlling B-cell inhibition and clues for designing new autoimmune therapies. PDB ID 5VKJNature Commun. 8, 764
To understand how bacteria can use pili to attach to surfaces, move themselves and become more virulent...
Sept. 13, 2017
Some bacteria are capable of using a "grappling hook" to move themselves. They extend pili to attach to surfaces and retract them to pull themselves toward the point of attachment. In some cases, these pili are essential for the disease process of virulent bacteria. Using data collected at the CMCF, researchers have characterized the "motor" of one such protein system, known as the Type IVa Pilus (T4aP). X-ray crystal structures allowed researchers to deduce a mechanism whereby ATP binds the core ATPase domains, driving the actions of the pili. PDB ID 5TSG.Nature Commun. 8, 15091
Pilatus3 6M detector commissioned on 08ID-1, with upgraded computing infrastructure, allows much faster data collection...
May 9, 2017
We are excited to announce that the new Pilatus3 S 6M detector has been installed and commissioned for use on beamline 08ID-1 beginning in May 2017. To complement the new detector, the computing and storage infrastructure has also been upgraded. One EMC Unity storage server with 40 TB of all flash user space, and three Dell PowerEdge R830 high performance computing nodes with 336 total threads have been installed, all on a new 10 Gbps fibre optic network. For additional information about using the Pilatus detector, please visit the data collection section of our User Guide.
Applications now open for the 7th Annual CLS Mx Data Collection School! Application Deadline April 10
Jan. 31, 2017
Applications are now open for the 7th Annual CLS Mx Data Collection School. This is an intensive 5-day hands-on data collection school intended to equip participants to effectively collect crystal diffraction data at the synchrotron as well as make use of the CMCF beamlines remotely. Attendance is limited so early application is encouraged. See the School webpage for more information.CLS Mx Data Collection School Homepage
New detector to be installed on beamline 08ID-1 this spring... click title for details!
Dec. 14, 2016
CMCF is pleased to announce that a key component of the beamlines upgrade project was delivered this month. The PILATUS3 S Series (6M) detector, which will allow low-noise shutter-less data collection arrived in December. The new detector will be installed on beamline 08ID-1 during the 2017 spring maintenance shutdown, and used for data collection beginning in May 2017. Here, the detector is shown in operation, with the monitor displaying x-rays detected from a test Fe-55 source.
2016 marks 10th anniversary of first crystal diffraction experiment at CMCF... click title for details!
Oct. 24, 2016
In 1999, the Canadian crystallography community submitted a proposal to the Canadian Light Source (CLS) to build the first crystallography beamline in Canada. This beamline, together with staff and infrastructure, was to be called the Canadian Macromolecular Crystallography Facility (CMCF). In 2005, thanks to the talent and dedication of CLS employees, construction of beamline 08ID-1 was completed. That same year, construction of a second crystallography beamline, 08B1-1, began and was completed in 2009. In 2011, this beamline saw its first remote experiments.In 2006, ten years ago, the first CMCF experiment was performed. The structure depicted (PDB ID 2i1q) is from the article published with the resulting data (J. Biol. Chem. 281, 39380-7), and represents the structure of RadA recombinase in complex with calcium. This protein plays a critical role in DNA repair. Since the first CMCF experiment in 2006, the CLS has become a hub of activity for Canadian crystallographers, supporting the work of the majority of the nation’s crystallography laboratories and several international researchers. The number of publications resulting from the work of dedicated researchers using the facility has risen steadily since its inception, with over 425 peer reviewed articles, 800 structures deposited in the Protein Data Bank and several patents and dissertations.As time advances, so do the needs of the crystallography community. To this end, several exciting upgrades are being implemented. The beamlines’ goals include higher flux on both beamlines, micro-beam capabilities as well as much faster data collection and sample transfer times in order to meet tomorrow’s challenges. The CMCF sincerely thanks all of the dedicated researchers, CLS staff, Beamline Advisory Team and funding agencies for their constant and unwavering support.
First phase of upgrades announced for 08ID-1 beamline, including new detector and sample changer...
Oct. 12, 2016
The needs of the crystallography community continue to advance. To this end, several exciting upgrades are being implemented at the CMCF with the support of the Beamline Advisory Team. The ultimate goals are higher flux on both beamlines, micro-beam capabilities as well as much faster data collection and sample transfer times in order to meet tomorrow’s new challenges. We are pleased to announce that, as an initial phase, two major components have been approved for beamline 08ID-1. The first is a PILATUS3 S Series (6M) detector, which will allow low-noise shutter-less data collection. The new detector will be installed during the 2017 spring maintenance shutdown, and used for data collection beginning in May 2017. The second is an IRELEC ISARA sample changer, which is expected to be ready for operations on beamline 08ID-1 beginning in late fall 2017. The kickoff planning meeting for the new sample changer occurred today. It will enable samples to be changed in under 20 seconds, and expands the range of currently supported bases to include spine pins loaded in standard Uni-pucks. Installation of components will be performed, as much as possible, during maintenance periods to minimize the impact on User beamtime at the CMCF. Although there will be short periods of time where the beamline is needed for optimization and testing, the impact is expected to be minimal, with beamline 08B1-1 operating continuously during these periods.
Maintenance begins October 11... now scheduling November beamtime
Oct. 6, 2016
This year, scheduled fall maintenance begins October 11. During this time, key components around the CLS and at the beamlines will be inspected and maintained as well as software upgrades implemented and tested. CMCF Users are welcome to submit beamtime requests for beamtime beginning in mid-November. Please see the Schedule for availability.
Taking place March 20 - 27, in order to investigate an intermittent vacuum issue... click image to see full story
March 14, 2016
An intermittent vacuum leak in the double crystal monochromator chambre has been detected on beamline 08ID-1. To prevent any serious problems, the cause will be investigated during the period of March 20 - 27. During this time, beamline 08ID-1 will be in maintenance mode. Beamline 08B1-1 will still be available for experiments. We do not anticipate any negative effects on data collection outside of the planned maintenance period.
Applications are now open for the 6th Annual CLS Mx Data Collection School! **Application Deadline March 29!**
Jan. 25, 2016
Applications are now open for the 6th Annual CLS Mx Data Collection School. This is an intensive 5-day hands-on data collection school intended to equip participants to effectively collect crystal diffraction data at the synchrotron as well as make use of the CMCF beamlines remotely. Additionally, this year's special topic will be an exploration of using the molecular replacement method for structure solution, and making effective use of COOT for model building with invited speaker Dr. Jeffrey Lee. Attendance is limited so early application is encouraged. See the School webpage for more information.CLS Mx Data Collection School Homepage
Exploring macromolecular machines that may one day produce novel therapeutics...
Jan. 22, 2016
Nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs) are large, complex proteins responsible for the production of many common antibiotics critical for human health. Making use of the Canadian Macromolecular Crystallography Facility beamlines, researchers have gained a new depth of understanding of NRPSs. Crystal structures of several functional confirmations were determined, supplying critical information about these macromolecular machines. This is an important step if NRPSs are to be used in the production of novel therapeutics. PDB ID: 5es5Nature 529, 239-42
Beamlines returning to normal operations.
Aug. 25, 2015
Regularly-scheduled maintenance of the MAR CCD detectors on both CMCF beamlines has been completed. Beamlines are returning to normal operations. Beamline 08B1-1 will once again be using the MAR 300 HE detector and beamline 08ID-1, the MAR 300 detector.
Scheduled maintenance of the CMCF detectors this week, August 17 - 23.
Aug. 17, 2015
Regularly-scheduled maintenance of the MAR CCD detectors on both CMCF beamlines will be taking place this week (August 17 to 23). Beamline operations are expected to return to normal August 25, 2015.
08B1-1 continues operations using the Mar CCD225 X-ray detector while the Mar 300HE undergoes maintenance.
July 23, 2015
While the Mar 300HE CCD X-ray detector on beamline 08B1-1 undergoes maintenance, the Mar 225 CCD detector has been temporarily put in place. This will allow the beamline to operate during the detector maintenance. The regular detector is expected to be returned to service this fall.click to see all 08B1-1 hardware details
Dr. Michelle (Tonkin) Parker presented with G. Michael Bancroft Ph.D. Thesis Award at this year's AUM.
July 2, 2015
At this year's Annual Users Meeting, Dr. Michelle (Tonkin) Parker was recognized with the G. Michael Bancroft Ph.D. Thesis Award. Michelle completed her doctoral work, entitled "Molecular Strategies for Active Host Cell Invasion by Apicomplexan Parasites", as a graduate student in Prof. Martin Boulanger's research group at the University of Victoria. During her studies, she published several papers related to the mechanism of malarial infections. New methods to combat malaria have become increasingly important as these parasites develop resistance to available drugs. Through collaborations with groups working on malaria drug and vaccine initiatives, Michelle's results have the potential to aid the development of novel treatment strategies.Link to related CLS story
Applications are being accepted for the CLS Mx Data Collection School. Visit the School homepage for exciting details!
Feb. 23, 2015
Applications are now open for the 5th Annual CLS Mx Data Collection School. This is an intensive 5-day hands-on data collection school intended to equip participants to effectively collect crystal diffraction data at the synchrotron as well as make use of the CMCF beamlines remotely. Additionally, this year's special topic will be an in-depth look at the use of Phenix during structure solution and refinement, with invited speaker Dr. Paul Adams. Attendance is limited so early application is encouraged. See the School webpage for more information.CLS Mx Data Collection School Homepage
CLS celebrates ten years of scientific research during the International Year of Light
Jan. 30, 2015
The Canadian Light Source is celebrating an important milestone in 2015: 10 years of scientific research. This anniversary takes place during the International Year of Light - a celebration of light and light-based research, announced by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The year was designated by the UN to bring awareness to the importance of light and light-based technology, such as synchrotron radiation and its applications. The CLS is planning a series of events; please see the full news release for more information. The International Year of Light follows on the heels of the International Year of Crystallography which occured in 2014.Full CLS News Release
New research describes gut microorganism adaptations to yeast in the diet...
Jan. 20, 2015
The microbial community of the human gut, the microbiota, is critical to human nutrition and health. Different diets are associated with different populations of microbiota. A study has appeared in Nature that explores the adaptation of the microbiota to yeast domestication in the human diet. Yeasts have been an important component of the diet for millenia, through such foods as yeast-leavened breads, fermented beverages and such food products as soy sauce. In this detailed study using multiple techniques, including structural data from the CLS, components of yeast (α-mannans) are shown to be an important food source for Bacteroidetes, a dominant member of the microbiota. These specialized bacteria use a mechanism to break down α-mannans by limited cleavage on the surface, generating large oligosaccharides that are subsequently broken down to mannose by periplasmic enzymes, a process that minimizes nutrient loss. PDBID 4c1r.Nature 517(7533), 165-169
As 2014 drew to a close, the CMCF announced over 500 PDB deposits resulting from data collected at the facility...
Jan. 6, 2015
As 2014 drew to a close, the CMCF celebrated the release of over 500 Protein Data Bank depositions resulting from data collected at the facility. This milestone occured during the International Year of Crystallography and demonstrates the hard work and dedication of CMCF users, the beamline advisory team and the staff of the CLS. As we begin the New Year, CMCF users have now published 300 works containing data obtained from the facility in peer-reviewed journals. Shown: PDBID 2y8s.Full CLS News Release
Unfolding the history of crystallography in the International Year of Crystallography
March 20, 2014
The United Nations has proclaimed 2014 the International Year of Crystallography. Looking back through the years, 29 Nobel Prizes have been awarded for discoveries related to crystallography since 1901, an impressive number for any field. The CLS is excited to celebrate crystallographic achievements of the past and to look to the future in this landmark year.Download a full version of the poster
Applications now being accepted for the CLS Mx Data Collection School. Visit the School homepage for exciting details!
Feb. 3, 2014
Applications are now open for the 4th Annual CLS Mx Data Collection School! This is an intensive 5-day hands-on data collection school intended to equip participants for effective crystal diffraction data collection, both on site and using CMCF beamlines remotely. This year, participants will delve into special topics including the molecular replacement technique, making effective use of COOT as well as structure validation with invited speaker Dr. Trevor Moraes. Attendance is limited so early application is encouraged. See the School webpage for more information.CLS Mx Data Collection School Homepage
Best wishes for a happy holiday season from all of us at the CMCF! Normal operations resume in early January.
Dec. 18, 2013
It is again time for December maintenance and the holiday season. All of the CLS will be in scheduled Maintenance Mode followed by Shutdown Mode until January 2014. No user beamtime will be available during this short period. Best wishes for a happy and restful holiday season and a prosperous and productive 2014 from everyone at the CMCF!Schedule
Scheduled maintenance for all of the CLS is under way. Regular User beamtime resumes mid-November.
Oct. 22, 2013
It is once again time for fall maintenance and all of the CLS will be in scheduled Maintenance Mode until mid-November. No User beamtime will be available during this short period. This is a busy time when systems are maintained and components as well as software are upgraded, both around the ring and on individual beamlines. Users may submit CMCF beamtime requests for the mid-November to December period.Click for full story...
1.0 Å crystal structure of parallel double-stranded poly(A) RNA published...
Aug. 12, 2013
RNA (ribonucleic acid) sequences, although usually single-stranded, can sometimes form double-helical structures. Long RNA sequences having repeating adenine residues, poly(rA), are present on messenger RNA (mRNA), which is transcribed from DNA as a step toward the production of proteins. Poly(rA) RNA was predicted to have the ability to form a double-helix in 1961 based on fibre diffraction experiments. Its detailed structure has only been confirmed by X-ray crystallography recently. Researchers at McGill University have crystallized (rA)11 RNA sequences and combined data collected at the Canadian Light Source and the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source to obtain a very detailed 1.0 Å resolution crystal structure of this double-helix. The structure, obtained at physiological pH, shows a parallel double-helix. Ammonium ions stabilize the structure by binding to RNA phosphate groups and adenine N1 atoms, while N7 positions are engaged in hydrogen bonding. Contrary to antiparallel DNA, the poly(rA) double helix shows no major or minor grooves, but rather grooves of equal size. The extent of poly(rA) RNA double-helix formation in mRNA and in other systems remains to be discovered. Researchers believe the structure may be physiologically important, especially under conditions where there is a high local concentration of poly(rA). This can happen, for instance, under conditions where cells are stressed and mRNA become concentrated in RNA granules within cells. PDB ID: 4jrd.Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl., 52, 10370-10373
Researchers in Toronto first to put beamline's Remote Control abilities to the test.
May 24, 2013
The Canadian Macromolecular Crystallography Facility (CMCF) is excited to announce that the first session of Remote data collection on beamline 08ID-1 occurred this week on May 23. Dr. Wolfram Tempel and colleagues from the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) in Toronto were the first to put the Remote Control capabilities of this highly-productive Canadian Light Source crystallography beamline to the test. This mode of operation allows researchers to collect data as though they were present at the beamline without leaving their home laboratories, thereby saving costs associated with travel and making data collection extremely efficient. The researchers shipped their samples in standard containers which were loaded into the robotic automounter by beamline staff. Using a freely-available software client installed on their laboratory computers, the research team was able to connect to the beamline through a secure encrypted channel in order to perform their experiments with minimal intervention by staff. This new capability follows on the heels of beamline 08B1-1, which has had Remote Control capabilities in place since 2011. Remote Control is now available on both CMCF beamlines to Users with active proposals, after completing appropriate training. Users wishing to use this capability should contact beamline staff to discuss their project.Click for full story...
Applications are being accepted for the CLS Mx Data Collection School. Visit the School homepage for exciting details!
Jan. 28, 2013
Applications are now open for the 3rd Annual CLS Mx Data Collection School. This is an intensive 5-day hands-on data collection school intended to equip participants to effectively collect crystal diffraction data at the synchrotron as well as make use of the CMCF beamlines remotely. Additionally, this year's special topic will be an in-depth look at the use of Phenix during structure solution and refinement, with invited speaker Dr. Paul Adams. Attendance is limited so early application is encouraged. See the School webpage for more information.CLS Mx Data Collection School Homepage
Antiviral proteins bind foreign RNA within a pocket to detect invaders...
Jan. 23, 2013
During viral infections with viruses such as the flu virus, RNAs having 5'-triphosphate groups (PPP-RNAs) are produced which do not have the usual eukaryotic 5'-cap. A recently-discovered protein, IFIT, can bind this foreign RNA, allowing the immune system to distinguish "self" from "non-self" RNA and initiate processes that serve to prevent the virus from making viable copies of itself. The mechanism for IFIT recognition of foreign viral RNA is the subject of new research, which may pave the way for new developments in the treatment of viral infections. Researchers have used data collected at the CMCF to solve crystal structures of a human IFIT with and without bound PPP-RNAs. These fascinating structures reveal a cavity within the protein designed to accept only single-stranded PPP-RNAs, yet with the necessary ability to be non sequence specific. PDB ID: 4hoqNature 494(7435), 60-64
Canadian Macromolecular Crystallography Facility receives new street address...
Nov. 22, 2012
Due to recent construction and rearrangement of roadways on the university campus, the Canadian Light Source has received a new street address and postal code. Our new address is:Canadian Macromolecular Crystallography FacilityCanadian Light Source, Inc.University of Saskatchewan44 Innovation BoulevardSaskatoon, SKCanada S7N 2V3Contact Us
A struggle to overcome antibiotic resistance using informed design of novel inhibitors...
Sept. 19, 2012
β-lactams are an important class of antibiotics that includes penicillins and carbapenems. A readily-transferable antibiotic resistance factor called New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase-1 (NDM-1) has been found in enteric bacteria. It confers resistance to β-lactams including some critical antibiotics that are presently considered to be the "last line of defence" against multi-drug resistant Gram negative bacteria. The most clinically significant of these lactamases have 2 active site Zn ions. Researchers have used data collected at the CMCF to describe the details of how β-lactam antibiotics are recognized by these Zn-containing enzymes, including a crystal structure having a potential inhibitor bound.J. Am. Chem. Soc. 134(28), 11362-11365
Beamline 08B1-1 plays role in elucidating critical process involved in gene silencing.
Aug. 8, 2012
Small RNA molecules that occur naturally in animals and plants are critical for the regulation of eukaryotic cellular processes. They serve to silence gene expression in various ways including via chromosomal modifications and post-transcriptional effects. These small RNAs are typically 20-30 nucleotides in length and associate with Argonaute proteins to form the RNA-induced silencing complex. In order to function properly, the Argonaute protein must bind to the correct class of small RNA. The 5'-nucleotide of the small RNA is recognized by the MID domain in human Argonaute proteins and this is critical for the correct sorting and association. Now researchers have determined that a similar structural mechanism also occurs in plant Argonaute proteins and, because of the greater complexity of small RNAs in plants, recognition interactions appear to have a corresponding complexity all their own. PDB ID: 4g0x.EMBO J. 31(17), 3588-3595
Structure of a sodium channel inactivation gate in complex with calcium-bound calmodulin.
March 7, 2012
Properly-functioning voltage-gated sodium channels are critical to the normal contraction and relaxation of heart muscle cells. Calcium ions bound to another protein called calmodulin can modulate these channels. Researchers have used data obtained at the CMCF to solve the 1.35 Å structure of calcium-bound calmodulin in complex with the inactivation gate of a sodium channel. Several mutations near the calmodulin binding site have been identified which result in arrhythmias or other physiological problems. View the full CLS press release here.Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 109(9), 3558-3563
The CMCF is now inviting applications for the 2nd Annual CLS Mx Data Collection School taking place at the CLS June 5-9, 2012. Visit the School homepage for exciting details!
Jan. 18, 2012
Applications are now open for the 2nd Annual CLS Mx Data Collection School. This is an intensive 5-day hands-on data collection school intended to equip participants to effectively collect crystal diffraction data at the synchrotron as well as make use of the CMCF beamlines remotely. Additionally, this year's special topic will be an in-depth look at the use of COOT during structure solution and modeling, with invited speaker Dr. Trevor Moraes. Attendance is limited so early application is encouraged. See the School webpage for more information.CLS Mx Data Collection School Homepage
The CLS will be in Maintenance and Shut Down Mode until January. Best wishes for a happy and restful holiday season and a productive 2012 from all of us at the CMCF!
Dec. 15, 2011
It is once again time for December maintenance and the holiday season. All of the CLS will be in scheduled Maintenance Mode followed by Shut Down Mode until January 2012. No user beamtime will be available during this short period. Best wishes for a happy and restful holiday season and a prosperous and productive 2012 from everyone at the CMCF!Schedule
The CMCF reminds users that scheduled maintenance for all of the CLS has commenced. Regular user beamtime will resume in mid-November. More information...
Oct. 18, 2011
It is once again time for fall maintenance and all of the CLS will be in scheduled Maintenance Mode until mid-November. No user beamtime will be available during this short period. This is a busy time when critical systems are maintained and components are upgraded, both in the ring and on individual beamlines.
Some parasites provide proteins to cells that they can later attach to for infiltrating the cells. Researchers examine this process.
Aug. 11, 2011
Toxoplasma and Plasmodium parasites cause numerous diseases worldwide, including malaria and toxoplasmosis. Interestingly, these parasites attack host cells in a very active manner, providing the receptor for binding to the host cell. Interaction thus occurs through a protein called AMA1 to a rhoptry neck (RON) complex provided by the parasite and injected into the host cell. Now researchers have used data collected at the CMCF to determined the structure of AMA1 with a RON2 peptide to give insight into this interaction. PDB ID: 2Y8T and 2Y8S.Science 333, 463-467
Researchers use the CLS to study enzymatic pathways in Chlamydia in order to develop more effective antibiotics.
July 12, 2011
Bacteria from the genus Chlamydia cause a number of serious health conditions in humans. As antibiotic resistance increases in these organisms, methods of combating infections are becomming increasingly urgent. Researchers from the University of Alberta are using the Canadian Macromolecular Crystallography Facility in their investigation of an alternate route of lysine biosynthesis in Chlamydia that is an excellent target for the development of new and specific antibiotics.J. Mol. Biol. 411(3), 649-660
The miniKappa goniometer head has been installed on beamline 08B1-1 and will be available to users.
April 7, 2011
The miniKappa goniometer head has been installed on beamline 08B1-1. Previously, rotation was only possible about the omega-axis during data collection. Additional orientations for crystals are now possible with the miniKappa axis. This is especially useful for samples having smaller unit cells or where precise orientation of the crystal axes is important. Users can control this axis through the MXDC data collection software's Beamline Setup tab. Note that beamline 08ID-1 remains in the traditional configuration with rotation about the omega-axis only.
Organize samples, shipping and experimental information and view experimental progress from home by using the newly-launched MxLIVE - the Mx Laboratory Information Virtual Environment.
March 31, 2011
MxLIVE (Mx Laboratory Information Virtual Environment) is the CMCF Laboratory Information Management System that will help your lab organize samples, shipments and experimental information to integrate your lab with data collection at the beamlines. When MxLIVE is used in conjunction with the MxDC data collection software, members of your team not at the beamline can easily check on the progress of experiments taking place at the beamlines and even view diffraction images through a secure web server. MxLIVE also helps you organize all of your crystal samples, information about their properties and contents, experimental parameters that you want to use for data collection, screening results and experimental results! An invaluable tool whether you are collecting data at the beamlines, collecting data remotely or sending samples for Mail-In data collection. For more information visit the MxLIVE page.MxLIVE User Guide
Deadline for applications to the 1st Annual CLS Mx Data Collection School has been extended to March 8, 2011!
March 2, 2011
The application deadline for the 1st Annual CLS Mx Data Collection School has been extended by one week to March 8, 2011. This is an intensive 5-day hands-on data collection school intended to equip participants to effectively collect crystal diffraction data at the synchrotron as well as make use of the CMCF beamlines remotely. Additionally, this year's special topic will be an in-depth look at the use of PHENIX for data analysis and structure solution with invited speaker Dr. Paul Adams. The school will take place May 16 - 20, 2011. Attendance is limited. See the School webpage for more information.CLS Mx Data Collection School Homepage
On February 24, 2011, the CMCF saw its first Remote Users, who successfully connected to and controlled beamline 08B1-1 to perform their experiments from home in Ontario... (more)
March 2, 2011
Researchers from Dr. Emil Pai's laboratory at the Ontario Cancer Institute were the first to benefit from the remote control capabilities that recently became available on beamline 08B1-1. This mode of operation allows researchers to collect data as though they were present at the beamline without leaving their home laboratories, thereby saving costs associated with travel. The researchers shipped their samples in standard containers which were loaded into the robotic automounter by beamline staff. Using a freely-available software client installed on their laboratory computers, the research team was able to connect to the beamline through a secure encrypted channel in order to perform their experiments with minimal intervention by beamline staff. Remote control is available on beamline 08B1-1 to users with an active proposal after completing appropriate training. Users wishing to use this capability should contact beamline staff.
Researchers use data from the CMCF to describe the cradle-shaped structure of an unique chaperone protein called Spy.
Feb. 16, 2011
Chaperone proteins make possible the correct folding of other protein molecules in the cell. Researchers have induced bacteria to overproduce a periplasmic chaperone protein called Spy. These unique cradle-shaped dimers help protein refolding and suppress protein aggregation independently of ATP.Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. 18(3), 262-269
Beamline 08ID-1 is once again available to users. Upgrades include an on-axis visualization system and mini-beam apparatus... (more)
Dec. 14, 2010
The 08ID-1 endstation has been upgraded and includes an on-axis visualization system and mini-beam apparatus. For standard use, the 100 micron beam size has an approximate flux of 2E12 photons per second. In January, characterization will proceed with smaller 50 micron, and eventually 20 micron beam sizes. The beamline is now available to users. Automounter testing with the new endstation is progressing well but the automounter is not yet available for general users. For now, users who wish to use an automounter may contact staff about using the beamline 08B1-1 automounter. For further details, more images and instructions about collecting data with the new 08ID-1 endstation, please visit the following website.Beamline Operations Guide
The CMCF is now inviting applications for the 1st Annual CLS Mx Data Collection School taking place at the Canadian Light Source synchrotron facility May 16 - 20, 2011. Visit the School homepage for exciting details!
Dec. 7, 2010
Applications are now open for the 1st Annual CLS Mx Data Collection School. This is an intensive 5-day hands-on data collection school intended to equip participants to effectively collect crystal diffraction data at the synchrotron as well as make use of the CMCF beamlines remotely. Additionally, this year's special topic will be an in-depth look at the use of PHENIX for data analysis and structure solution with invited speaker Dr. Paul Adams. Attendance is limited so early application is encouraged. See the School webpage for more information.CLS Mx Data Collection School Homepage
Researchers at U.B.C. make use of beamline 08ID-1 in their study of ryanodine receptor disease hotspots. Mutations in these hotspot regions can contribute to heart and other muscle conditions.
Nov. 27, 2010
Genetic variation in ryanodine receptor 'hotspots' can play a role in diseases affecting muscles, including congenital heart disease. Researchers from the University of British Columbia have combined crystallographic data obtained at beamline 08ID-1 and the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource with electron microscopy data to shed light on amino-terminal ryanodine receptor disease hotspot. To view the complete media release click here. PDB ID: 2XOA.Nature 468, 585-588
Some microbes produce enzymes that break down potentially harmful compounds found in pollutants from fossil fuels, plastics or pesticides. Researchers from the University of Guelph make use of data obtained at the CMCF to understand the active site of one such enzyme.
Nov. 8, 2010
HMG/CHA aldolase from Pseudomonas putida is part of a larger pathway for breaking down harmful components of fossil fuel pollution and coal derivatives (fluorene and its analogues) and substances found in plastics and pesticides (phthalate isomers). The researchers have grown crystals of the enzyme and solved the crystal structure in order to better understand how the active site is organized. This has allowed them to propose a catalytic mechanism based on the structural features, kinetics and information available about related aldolases. PDB ID: 3NOJ.J. Biol. Chem. 285, 36608-36615
We are pleased to announce that the installation and testing of the automounter on beamline 08B1-1 has been completed and that it is now available for users... (more)
Nov. 4, 2010
We are pleased to announce that the installation and testing of the automounter on beamline 08B1-1 has been completed and that it is now available for users. Please contact beamline staff to make arrangements for using the automounter and for additional information. The Stanford Automated Mounting System (SAM) accepts SSRL-style cassettes or Uni-Pucks. Sample pins should be Hampton-style CrystalCap Copper Magnetic pins or CrystalCap Magnetic pins, the 18 mm size being preferred. Note that spine pins cannot be used. Click here for more information on pins.
The hydration level of your crystals can have an impact on their diffraction quality. The HC1 humidity control device allows you to control this variable and is now available for use at the CMCF.
Nov. 4, 2010
The hydration level of your crystals can have an impact on their diffraction quality. The HC1 humidity control device is now available for use at beamline 08B1-1. The instrument allows you to control the relative humidity surrounding a mounted crystal through the delivery of a precisely callibrated air stream. If you are interested in using the HC1, please discuss your experiment with beamline staff. For more information on the device and its possible applications,please visit the User Guide.Humidity Control Guide
The upgrade of the 08ID-1 endstation is proceeding. Commisioning will continue through November and the beamline is anticipated to be ready for users near the end of November.
Nov. 4, 2010
The upgrade of the 08ID-1 endstation is proceeding. Commisioning will continue through November and the beamline is anticipated to be ready for users near the end of November.
Bacterial infections once thought to be on the verge of eradication have been making a comeback. Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan used the 08ID-1 beamline to study UGM, an enzyme crucial for making a particular "super-antigen", lipopolysaccharide.
Aug. 24, 2010
The need for novel antibiotics is increasingly pressing in the face of the rising threat of bacteria resistant to existing drugs. One approach for such antibiotics is to target the building blocks of bacterial cell walls. One such component is lipopolysaccharide, formed from sugars that are in turn produced using the enzyme UDP-galactopyranose mutase (UGM). Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan isolated UGM in a form bound to sugars and obtained its crystal structure. This information may be used to design drugs that inhibit the enzyme's activity and thus block the formation of bacterial cell walls.J. Mol. Biol. 394 (5), 864-877
University of British Columbia researchers the 08ID-1 beamline to determine the molecular structure of ferritin, an iron storage protein recently discovered in a group of phytoplankton called pennate diatoms.
Aug. 24, 2010
Diatoms are unicellular phytoplankton that account for much of the primary productivity in the world's oceans. The growth and population size of diatoms is dependent on the availability of iron. Using data from the 08ID-1 beamline, researchers from the University of British Columbia determined that pennate diatoms are able to produce an iron-concentrating protein, ferritin, to store iron and thrive in areas that are usually iron-poor.Nature 457 (7228), 467-470
For over 40 years, tuberculosis has been treated using a cocktail of antibiotics that must be taken for six months to a year. A discovery by researchers from the CLS and the University of British Columbia sheds light both on the source of the TB bug’s resilience and a new way to treat the infection
Aug. 24, 2010
Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the bacteria that causes tuberculosis, is a resilient organism that can only be effectively treated by a lengthy course of multiple drugs. Mtb is able to survive by harvesting the cholesterol stored in white blood cells. Researchers from the University of British Columbia used the 08ID-1 beamline to collect data about the strucuture of KshAB, one of the enzymes used to break down cholesterol. This structural information can be used to design drugs to interfere with the enzyme and develop improved drugs for the treatment of tuberculosis.Acta Crystallogr. F 64 (9), 805-808
Malaria, caused by Plasmodia parasites, has re-emerged as a major problem, especially due to multidrug resistance. Researchers from the University of Toronto used data from the 08ID-1 beamline to investigate a promising strategy to develop novel classes of therapeutics.
Aug. 24, 2010
Malaria, caused by Plasmodia parasites, has re-emerged as a major problem, imposing its fatal effects on human health, especially due to multidrug resistance. In Plasmodia, orotidine 5’-monophosphate decarboxylase (ODCase) is an essential enzyme for the de novo synthesis of uridine 5’-monophosphate. Impairing ODCase in these pathogens is a promising strategy to develop novel classes of therapeutics. Researchers from the group of Dr. E. Pai (University of Toronto) used data from the 08ID-1 beamline to investigate the structure–activity relationships of various novel inhibitors of ODCase.J. Med. Chem. 51 (3), 439-448
The Norwalk virus belongs to a superfamily of viruses that stores their genetic code as RNA. Researchers at the University of Calgary used high-resolution data from the 08ID-1 beamline to collect information crucial for drug development.
Aug. 24, 2010
Outbreaks of Norwalk virus are notorious for causing severe dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhea. The currently untreatable bug belongs to a superfamily of viruses that stores their genetic code as RNA. Researchers at the University of Calgary used high-resolution data from the 08ID-1 beamline to determine the structure the Norwalk virus polymerase in various complexed states. The information is crucial to better understand viral replication and for drug development.J. Biol. Chem. 283 (12), 7705-7712
The Xenon Chamber is a pressure chamber designed to produce xenon derivatives of biological macromolecular crystals.Crystals mounted in loops are placed into the Xenon Chamber. Once sealed, the chamber is pressurized with xenon gas so that the crystal and macromolecules are equilibrated in a vapor saturated xenon atmosphere. Following depressurization of the chamber, the loop-mounted crystal is simply lifted and slid along the Xenon Chamber track and quickly lowered into a dewar for
June 1, 2008
Xenon is a noble gas, which binds to specific sites in a biological macromolecule and can therefore be used to form heavy atom derivatives for structure determination. The Xenon Chamber is a simple yet effective device designed to pressurize loop-mounted biological macromolecular crystals in the presence of xenon gas at room temperature. Crystals mounted in loops such as the CrystalCap system are placed into the Xenon Chamber. Once sealed, the chamber is pressurized with xenon gas so that the crystal and macromolecules are equilibrated in a vapor saturated xenon atmosphere. Following depressurization of the chamber, the loop-mounted crystal is simply lifted and slid along the Xenon Chamber track and quickly lowered into a dewar for freezing in liquid nitrogen or propane. Users wishing to operate this equipment should contact the beamline staff for operating instructions and training.