Biocenter Oulu Protein Crystallography core facility offers crystallization using nanoliter dispensers and a collection of commercial and self maintained crystallization screens. Crystallization is followed using the IceBear software and remote access to monitor the experiments can be provided following the visit.
For the automated imaging of the crystallization drops there are three Formulatrix Rock Imagers, two RI54 imagers and one RI2, operated by RockMaker. These instruments are used to take images of the crystallization drops according to a user-set imaging schedule. One RI54 with 54 slots for crystallization 96-well plates is at 22 oC and has in addition to visible imaging a UV-imaging option. The second RI54 and the RI2 are in the cold room at +4 oC. The RI2 is an imager for two plates. The browser-based IceBear software has been developed such that the crystallization results can be viewed and annotated from any computer, inside or outside the University, also after the access visit. IceBear modules for uploading meta data to ISPyB (at Diamond Light Source) of crystals selected for diffraction experiments are being developed. We suggest users for crystallisation also request time on the diffractometer to allow testing of the crystals and includes crystal data tracking.
The IceBear (Integrated Crystal-data-tracking Enhancing Biochemistry Education And Research) software is designed to help researchers to follow and annotate the results of their crystallization experiments from their desk (or from outside the workplace, anywhere in the world). It is also possible to annotate these results. IceBear will enable tracking of crystal data from crystallization to PDB deposition of the structure coordinates. It aims not only to support home-lab crystallization work but also to integrate seamlessly with diffraction experiments done at synchrotrons and other X-ray sources via standardized data exchange protocols. The software is distributed under the MIT license. More information on IceBear is available on the project website.
The Mosquito LCP (TTP Labtech) can be used for crystallization of both soluble and membrane proteins. It pipettes crystallization drops at nanoliter scale, from 25-1200 nl. The instrument uses disposable positive displacement pipettes to avoid contamination. The Echo 650 acoustic dispenser can transfer crystallization solutions and protein samples to crystallization plates in 2.5 nl increments contact free using acoustic energy. The stock solutions for the crystallization experiments are made with the TECAN Freedom-EVO pipetting robot. Simple grid screens are made with Formulatrix Mantis and source plates for acoustic dispensing are made with a PerkinElmer Janus pipetting station.