Today was truly a fantastic day. Please pardon me while I geek out with a story.
I've been working to solve the structure of one particular protein since May. Before that, three separate rotation students and a postdoc put three years of manpower into the project.
As you may remember from my last post, I spent midnight to 6am at the Advanced Light Source collecting data on the umpteenth heavy-metal soaks for these crystals. After halfway processing most of the data from Monday's synchrotron trip, I was mighty discouraged, since none of the data looked promising. However, I started one more computing job before heading home to get some sleep.
Today I went into the lab thinking dark thoughts and trying to plan the next set of experiments. I was actually halfway through making up some solutions for an entirely new set of gold and platinum derivatizations when someone asked me how the data looked. Suddenly, I was reminded of the computational experiment I had set running before I left. I didn't really think it had worked, but the guy I was talking to wanted to take a look, so I trudged out to the computer room with him. The first thing we brought up was the initial electron density map from the last-minute job.
SHAZAM. A perfect alpha helix strared back at us.
Over the last several months my project has become infamous as the structure that (inexplicably) couldn't be solved. Take that, Laue!
Posted on November 25, 2003 09:47 PM