Elective course in MSc Life Science and Technology, MSc Chemistry.
Students with a BSc degree in LST, MST, or BSc degree in Biology/Chemistry or equivalent can enroll in this course. It is recommended to have a basic understanding of biochemistry.
To gain a deeper understanding of protein function it is important to decipher the three-dimensional structure of proteins. This structural knowledge can serve as a basis for rational drug design for therapeutic applications such as the development of novel or improved antibiotics. This course introduces the current state-of-the-art techniques in structural biology, with a focus on X-ray crystallography. The principles of X-ray crystallography will be introduced in a series of lectures alongside practical exercises in crystallization, structure determination and validation. Furthermore, state of the art structural biology methods (single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET), and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR)) will be introduced and compared to X-ray crystallography.
At the end of the course participants will understand the theoretical principles behind the mentioned techniques and will be able to judge which technique to use for which use-case.
Students will be graded based on a final exam and on short presentations, in which students discuss the quality of three-dimensional structures of selected scientific publications.
The students following this course will be trained to:
set up protein crystallization experiments using vapor diffusion techniques
perform crystal soaking experiments to generate heavy metal derivatives or co-crystallize small molecules
prepare crystals for X-ray measurements (vitrification of crystals)
process and analyze diffraction data
determine three-dimensional protein structures using the most common methods (Single Anomalous Dispersion, Molecular Replacement)
perform structure modelling and refinement
validate the quality of protein structures
deposit refined structures at the protein data bank
differentiate structural biology methods depending on the scientific question (X-ray crystallography ,NMR, cryo-EM, cryo-ET)
analyze and present a structural biology publication
Schedule information can be found on the website of the programmes.
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Mode of Instruction
Lecture, seminar, practical exercises
Written examination with short and essay questions (80%)
It is recommended to revisit and further explore the course content by reading “Biomolecular Crystallography – Bernhard Rupp – 1st edition – ISBN: 978-0-8153-4081-2”.
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