Single-wavelength anomalous diffraction phasing revisited

L. M. Rice, T. N. Earnest, A. T. Brunger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


Multiwavelength anomalous diffraction (MAD) phasing has become a routinely used tool for determining new macromolecular structures. The MAD method has stringent data-collection requirements, typically necessitating radiation-resistant crystals and access to a tunable synchrotron beamline. In cases where synchrotron time, monochromator tunability or radiation damage is a concern or where high-throughput structure determination is desired, phasing methods capable of producing interpretable electron-density maps from less data become attractive alternatives to MAD. The increasing availability of tunable synchrotron data-collection facilities prompted the authors to revisit single-wavelength anomalous diffraction (SAD) phasing used in conjunction with a phase-ambiguity resolving method such as solvent flattening. The anomalous diffraction from seven different selenomethionine-labelled protein crystals has been analysed and it is shown that in conjunction with solvent flattening, diffraction data from the peak anomalous wavelength alone can produce interpretable electron-density maps of comparable quality to those resulting from full MAD phasing. Single-wavelength anomalous diffraction (SAD) phasing can therefore be a time-efficient alternative to MAD. The data also show that radiation damage can have a significant effect on the quality of SAD/MAD diffraction data. These results may be useful in the design of optimal strategies for collection of the diffraction data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1413-1420
Number of pages8
JournalActa Crystallographica Section D: Biological Crystallography
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 29 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology


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