Welcome to BioCAT

BioCAT is now able to carry out research on any subject, not just COVID-19 related projects. However, COVID-19 related projects will still be given priority on the beamline. Additionally, due to an Argonne-wide policy, no users are allowed on site and we can run fewer experiments than usual. If you are interested in beam time please contact us.

Science Highlights

Nebulin mutations causing nemaline myopathy in humans change the structure of thin filaments in muscle

Nebulin is a giant protein that winds around the actin filaments in the sarcomeres of skeletal muscle. Mutations in the nebulin gene (NEB) cause typical nemaline myopathy (NM), a muscle disorder characterized by muscle weakness that are difficult to treat. The authors of this study created a mouse model that mimics the typical nebulin-based NM patient with compound-heterozygous mutations. X-ray diffraction studies on the BioCAT beamline 18ID provided a structural explanation for the muscle weakness. This new Compound-Het mouse model will be useful for testing experimental therapies for typical NM.

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How Prion-like domains Drive Liquid-Liquid Phase Transitions in Cells

Liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) provides a way for cells to create membraneless micro-environments (“condensates”) that have been proposed to be involved in diverse cellular processes including stress responses, RNA splicing, mitosis, chromatin organization, and the clustering of receptors at membranes. Proteins driving LLPS often contain intrinsically disordered prion like domains (PLD’s) that appear to be necessary and sufficient to produce LLPS. In a recent paper in the journal Science, researchers used a combination of NMR, multiscale simulations and Size Exclusion Chromatography SAXS experiments at BioCAT to discover sequence features that determine the phase behavior of PLD’s.

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Sarcomere Structure and Nemaline Myopathy

Nemaline myopathy (NM) is one of the most common congenital non-dystrophic myopathies and is characterized by severe hypotonia, muscle weakness, feeding difficulties, respiratory failure, and the presence of nemaline bodies (rods) in skeletal muscle biopsies. One form of nemaline myopathy is caused by mutations in the KBTBD13 (NEM6) gene. In this paper the authors show that the impaired muscle relaxation kinetics in NEM6 patients are caused by structural changes in the thin filament, a sarcomeric microstructure.

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SAXS studies of RNA elements from the SARS-CoV-2 virus at BioCAT

As part of the global effort to study the SARS-CoV-2 virus causing the COVID-19 pandemic, BioCAT is carrying out SEC-MALS-SAXS studies of RNA elements from the virus.

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BioCAT at Biophysics 2020 in San Diego

Please come and visit us at booth number 430 at the Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Society February 15-19 for swag and good conversation.

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Everything BioSAXS 5 workshop summary

BioCAT ran its 5th annual Everything BioSAXS workshop from November 5-7th, 2019. With 13 on-site participants and 24 remote participants the workshop was a resounding success.

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