Deuterium Labeling and Neutron Scattering for Structural Biology


Neutron scattering applications in structural biology are strongly enhanced by deuterium labeling either of the
aqueous solvent or of the macromolecules themselves, or both. In protein crystallography deuteration of the solvent and
protein allows a clear visualization of hydrogen sites (deuterium atoms) as well as increasing signal/noise in the
diffraction data. This allows crystals as small as 0.lmm3 to be used. In small angle scattering and reflectometry
deuteration of the aqueous solvent allows one to exploit manipulate the contrast between different components
complexes such as proteins, nucleic acids or lipids. In the case of multi-protein complexes the in vivo deuteration of
individual protein sub-units allows an even more sophisticated contrast variation to be performed.
Keywords: Structural biology, neutron scattering, deuterium labeling, contrast variation. Peter Timmins; lnstitut Laue-Langevin, BP 156, 6 rue Jules Horowitz
38042 Grenoble Cedex 9, France