The High Throughput Crystallization Facility at EMBL Grenoble offers automated nanovolume crystallization screening on a service basis. Starting with a purified and concentrated sample, dedicated operators perform the crystallization experiments, which are followed up through automated imaging systems. Results, along with all the experimental details are made available in real-time through our own dedicated, secure web interface, CRIMS (Crystallization Information Management System). The HTX lab is one of the key platforms of the Partnership for Structural Biology (PSB) and is located in the Grenoble campus, next to the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) and the Institute Laue Langevin (Neutron Source). Since the start of operations we have provided crystallization services to more than 350 scientists.
European researchers can gain access to the automated crystallisation services at the HTX lab through the European Commission funded infrastructure project PCUBE. For applications please contact Dr. Jose A. Marquez.
Description of the platform
The HTX lab represents one of the largest platforms for high-throughput crystallisation screening in Europe and was established with the aim to increase the success rate and speed up the process of crystal structure determination by X-ray diffraction. In this platform the whole process of crystallisation screening is automated. Crystallization screening solutions are prepared in a high capacity liquid handling platform, consisting of a TECAN Genesis station plus a TeMo 96 line pippeting system, a carousel with capacity for 200 microplates and a plate sealer.
Sitting and hanging drop vapour diffusion crystallization experiments are set up with a Cartesian PixSys using extremely low sample volumes. Three automated imagers, two of them operating at 20 °C and one at 4 °C provide a combined storage capacity of 2.000 crystallisation microplates. All the operations in the lab are tracked and recorded by our own data management system, the Crystallization Information Management System (CRIMS). Dedicated web interfaces offer instant access (over a secure server) to the results along with experimental results. In addition to the standard protocols we have developed specific procedures to handle samples with special requirements like membrane proteins for example. We are also actively involved in the development and evaluation of new technologies in macromolecular crystallization.
The HTX lab can also offer support for structure determination.