European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Grenoble

EMBL Grenoble is a key player in the Partnership for Structural Biology (PSB) which integrates the activities of several Grenoble institutes involved with structural biology and thus is able to provide a uniquely comprehensive range of platforms for both inhouse research and external users.

A cornerstone of the PSB is the close interaction of EMBL Grenoble with European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), which involves collaboration on building and operating beamlines for macromolecular crystallography and small-angle scattering, developing instrumentation and techniques, and providing expert help to visitors. The highly automated ESRF crystallography beamlines are equipped with EMBL-designed high-precision microdiffractometers and frozen crystal sample changers. A new X-ray small-angle scattering instrument built by ESRF and EMBL is now operational with a custom designed smallvolume automatic sample changer.

High throughput methods have also been introduced in other steps of the structure determination process. These include a very successful robotic system for nanovolume crystallisation and a novel high throughput screening method, ESPRIT, which enables soluble protein domains to be identified in otherwise badly expressed or insoluble proteins. More recently, a Eukaryotic Expression Facility (EEF) has been established specialising in the expression of multi-subunit complexes in insect cells, building on and further developing the MultiBac method. All these platforms are now available to external users under the EU funded BioStruct-X projects.