Visualizing a protein quake with time-resolved X-ray scattering at a free-electron laser

David Arnlund, Linda C. Johansson, Cecilia Wickstrand, Anton Barty, Garth J. Williams, Erik Malmerberg, Jan Davidsson, Despina Milathianaki, Daniel P. DePonte, Robert L. Shoeman, Dingjie Wang, Daniel James, Gergely Katona, Sebastian Westenhoff, Thomas A. White, Andrew Aquila, Sadia Bari, Peter Berntsen, Mike Bogan, Tim Brandt van DrielR. Bruce Doak, Kasper Skov Kjær, Matthias Frank, Raimund Fromme, Ingo Grotjohann, Robert Henning, Mark S. Hunter, Richard A. Kirian, Irina Kosheleva, Christopher Kupitz, Mengning Liang, Andrew V. Martin, Martin Meedom Nielsen, Marc Messerschmidt, M. Marvin Seibert, Jennie Sjohamn, Francesco Stellato, Uwe Weierstall, Nadia A. Zatsepin, John C. H. Spence, Petra Fromme, Ilme Schlichting, Sebastien Boutet, Gerrit Groenhof, Henry N. Chapman, Richard Neutze

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


We describe a method to measure ultrafast protein structural changes using time-resolved wide-angle X-ray scattering at an X-ray free-electron laser. We demonstrated this approach using multiphoton excitation of the Blastochloris viridis photosynthetic reaction center, observing an ultrafast global conformational change that arises within picoseconds and precedes the propagation of heat through the protein. This provides direct structural evidence for a 'protein quake': the hypothesis that proteins rapidly dissipate energy through quake-like structural motions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Methods
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)923-926
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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