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X-Ray Diffraction Interest Group

The NIH X-ray Diffraction SIG aims to promote collaboration and information sharing between NIH researchers who are interested in the use of X-rays to elucidate the structure of biological molecules and assemblies. The X-ray Diffraction SIG publishes a newsletter that contains practical tips and tricks, discussion topics, and links to the recent publications of SIG members. It also provides a toolbox with links to programs and servers.

X-ray diffraction studies at the NIH date from the early 1950s (Davies, Dunitz, Felsenfeld, and Rich). Fiber diffraction work on synthetic polyribonucleotides, initiated in 1955, led to the proposal of three-stranded and other forms of associations (Davies, Felsenfeld, and Rich). Interest in multi-stranded nucleic acids also resurfaced at a later date in proposals for four-stranded structures that are now believed to play a role in telomere organization. Fiber diffraction experiments on muscle were initiated in the 1970s (Podolsky and Yu) and continue fruitfully today. The first protein crystallography on campus was carried out in the 1960s with a structure determination of g-chymotrypsin, followed by a series of studies on antibodies and their Fab fragments, both alone and in complex with antigens. Subsequent research has been extended to other proteins, in particular, to several kinds of proteases and many other enzymes.

In recent years, X-ray crystallography in particular at the NIH has proliferated to a total of 19 groups, on the Bethesda campus (Buchanan, Banarjee, Ferre-D-Amare, Dyda, Kwong, Mayer, Roll-Mecak, Xia, and Yang), at the NCI-Frederick (Ji, Waugh, and Wlodawer), at Twinbrook (Sun), at the Research Triangle Park (Hall, Pedersen, Stanley, Williams), and at the Advanced Photon Source (Dauter), creating a critical mass of expertise and a cooperative, well-equipped environment in which the structures of a wide variety of proteins and other macromolecules are vigorously pursued. In addition to the 19 groups, macromolecular crystallography has been integrated into more and more laboratories that are not specialized in X-ray diffraction.

Mailing List

To join the X-Ray Diffraction Interest Group mailing list, please visit the X-Ray Diffraction Interest Group Listserv home page, then click the “Subscribe or Unsubscribe” link in the right sidebar.


The page was last updated on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - 12:32pm