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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Universally Accessible Structural Data on Macromolecular Conformation, Assembly, and Dynamics by Small Angle X-Ray Scattering for DNA Repair Insights.

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Structures provide a critical breakthrough step for biological analyses, and small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) is a powerful structural technique to study dynamic DNA repair proteins. As toxic and mutagenic repair intermediates need to be prevented from inadvertently harming the cell, DNA repair proteins often chaperone these intermediates through dynamic conformations, coordinated assemblies, and allosteric regulation. By measuring structural conformations in solution for both proteins, DNA, RNA, and their complexes, SAXS provides insight into initial DNA damage recognition, mechanisms for validation of their substrate, and pathway regulation. Here, we describe exemplary SAXS analyses of a DNA damage response protein spanning from what can be derived directly from the data to obtaining super resolution through the use of SAXS selection of atomic models. We outline strategies and tactics for practical SAXS data collection and analysis. Making these structural experiments in reach of any basic and clinical researchers who have protein, SAXS data can readily be collected at government-funded synchrotrons, typically at no cost for academic researchers. In addition to discussing how SAXS complements and enhances cryo-electron microscopy, X-ray crystallography, NMR, and computational modeling, we furthermore discuss taking advantage of recent advances in protein structure prediction in combination with SAXS analysis.

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