Welcome to BioCAT

BioCAT is now able to run all standard experiments. The only current restriction is that if user groups want to have more than 3 users on site for an experiment you must receive special permission. All on site users must follow the current COVID-19 guidelines: https://aps.anl.gov/Users-Information/Updates/APS-General-User-Programs-during-the-COVID-19-Pandemic

Science Highlights

New Resource for the Muscle Diffraction Community

BioCAT staff have just published a review article, Ma & Irving, 2022 Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3052, on the use of small angle X-ray fiber diffraction for studying skeletal and cardiac muscle disease. The article consists of a guided tour of the various diffraction features that can be used to extract specific pieces of information that can be used to provide insights into the structural basis of pathology. The article also contains a comprehensive review of the literature reporting diffraction studies of muscle that illustrates how small angle fiber diffraction has increased our understanding of specific muscle diseases such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, dilated cardiomyopathy, and nemaline myopathy.

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What Bacterial Pathogens Can Teach Us about Protein Folding

Protein folding is one of the fascinating unanswered questions in biology. How does an amino acid sequence that is unfolded when it leaves the ribosome manage to fold properly into a highly ordered, lightning-fast enzyme or sturdy structural protein? Why don’t all the proteins in the cell instead just stick to each other, aggregating into a big mess? A unique model system in bacteria may hold some of the answers to these questions. The system involves the study of what are termed autotransporter proteins. These proteins have a highly specialized protein folding process that attracted the attention of a team of researchers who have used this bacterial system as a model to determine what allows these unique proteins to maintain their disordered state in the periplasm. The work includes studies carried out at BioCAT. The authors believe their work will provide important information toward understanding basic questions of protein folding and tests long-held theories about how this remarkable biological process works.

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Relaxation at the Molecular Level

The molecular interactions between the proteins myosin and actin that generate force during muscle contraction are some of the most well-studied molecular interactions in biology. However, there are some congenital skeletal muscle disorders and types of heart failure where relaxation of the muscle, rather than the force generation part of the cycle, appears to be the problem, and there are currently no available treatments that affect relaxation specifically. Recent work conducted at BioCAT used a unique transgenic mouse model, time-resolved small-angle x-ray diffraction, and molecular dynamics simulations to discover more about how myosin and actin interact during skeletal muscle relaxation. This research may help identify new treatments for neuromuscular disorders associated with impaired muscle relaxation kinetics.

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Striated Muscle workshop

To promote the use of two NIH P30 Centers that are National Resources for the study of striated muscle; the Biophysics Collaborative Access Team (BioCAT: funded by NIGMS) at Argonne National Laboratory and the Center for Translational Muscle Research (CTMR: funded by NIAMS) are offering Multiscale Structural and Functional Studies for Striated Muscle workshop following the Myofilament Meeting in Madison Wisconsin.

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Everything BioSAXS 8 workshop

BioCAT is offering the all-virtual Everything BioSAXS 8 workshop June 21-24th. Participants will receive four days of virtual lectures and hands-on software tutorials on the basics of BioSAXS data collection and processing. They will also be able to mail samples to BioCAT for data collection prior to the workshop.

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BioCAT Director Tom Irving Honored as AAAS Fellow

BioCAT director and Illinois Institute of Technology biology and physics professor Thomas C. Irving has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Irving is being honored for “distinguished contributions to the field of muscle diffraction and enabling the fields of synchrotron fiber diffraction and biological small angle scattering.” He is among the 564 scientists, engineers, and innovators spanning 24 scientific disciplines being recognized for their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements in this year’s AAAS fellows class.

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