EMBL Sample Preparation and Characterization Facility
The Sample Preparation and Characterization facility (SPC) is located directly next to the EMBL beamlines at the PETRA III synchrotron. We offer a pipeline from the lab bench to our X-ray and SAXS beamlines, helping you to optimize and prepare your samples for structural studies. Our high-throughput crystallization laboratory offers initial crystallization screens from various suppliers as well as customized screens for optimization of initial hits, both suitable for soluble and membrane proteins. Drops are set with nanolitre dispensing robots; the TTP’s MOSQUITO equipped with an LCP (Lipidic Cubic Phase) module. Online observation of the plates is possible via the Crystallization Information Management System (CRIMS), which makes results available to users in real-time, along with all experimental parameters. Integration of crystallization and synchrotron data collection facilities is achieved through automated crystal harvesting and processing. We offer the CrystalDirect® technology, able to harvest protein crystals from 96-well CrystalDirectTM plates by means of laser photoablation. The protein crystals are directly mounted on a SPINE compatible sample pin and then placed into a cryo-stream to be transferred into a cryostorage. The facility develops sample optimization screens that are commercialized by Molecular Dimensions as RUBIC screens, and can be used for Thermofluor. The biophysical platform of the SPC includes several instruments available for academic and external users. We offer services for initial protein quality control in addition to characterization techniques including Thermofluor (TF), Circular Dichroism (CD), Isothermal Titration Calorimetry (ITC), nano Differential Scanning Fluorimetry (nDSF), Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) and Microscale Thermophoresis (MST). Scientists working in European academic institutions can access our facility through the EC-funded iNEXT program. The facility is a member of an open pan-European network Association of Resources for Biophysical Research in Europe (ARBRE).