The Structural Biology Center (SBC) is a national user facility for macromolecular crystallography at the Advanced Photon Source. The facility uses advanced instrumentation, state-of-the-art software, and methods and high throughput technologies.

SBC continues to research for therapeutics and treatments to combat COVID-19. Scientists at SBC and APS received an ANL impact award on its 2020 research encompassing the SARS CoV-2 virus.

SBC Highlights and News 

The facility uses advanced instrumentation, state-of-the-art software and methods and high throughput technologies. SBC is capable of addressing the most challenging projects in structural biology that include: large macromolecular assemblies (ribosomes, viruses, regulatory protein/DNAcomplexes), membrane-bound and membrane-associated proteins (ion channels, receptors, integrins). Structures of enzymes and complexes with ligands and inhibitors can be determined at atomic resolution.

The Structural Biology Center enables the atomic-scale study of macromolecular systems using very small crystal samples. It also offers the most efficient data collection and structure determination systems for protein crystallography worldwide. Thanks to recent advances with larger, faster X-ray detectors and automation of laboratory processes for expressing proteins and growing crystals, the time required to solve molecular structures has been greatly reduced. Research that not long ago took months or years may now take only hours. In addition, one need not be a macromolecular crystallographer to take advantage of these facilities; our experienced beamline staff are available to guide even novice users through the entire process.



Publications Highlights

Biochemical and structural studies of two tetrameric nucleoside 2'-deoxyribosyltransferases from psychrophilic and mesophilic bacteria: Insights into cold-adaptation. Fernández-Lucas J, Acebrón I, Wu RY, Alfaro Y, Acosta J, Kaminski PA, Arroyo M, Joachimiak A, Nocek BP, De la Mata I, Mancheño JM.Int J Biol Macromol. 2021 Oct 5;192:138-150. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2021.09.164.  PMID: 34624379

Structural and biochemical insights into CRISPR RNA processing by the Cas5c ribonuclease SMU1763 from Streptococcus mutans. Lemak S, Serbanescu MA, Khusnutdinova AN, Ruszkowski M, Beloglazova N, Xu X, Brown G, Cui H, Tan K, Joachimiak A, Cvitkovitch DG, Savchenko A, Yakunin AF.J Biol Chem. 2021 Sep 27:101251. doi: 10.1016/j.jbc.2021.101251.  PMID: 34592310

The Enzymatic Activity of Inosine 5'-Monophosphate Dehydrogenase May Not Be a Vulnerable Target for Staphylococcus aureus Infections. Modi G, Marqus GM, Vippila MR, Gollapalli DR, Kim Y, Manna AC, Chacko S, Maltseva N, Wang X, Cullinane RT, Zhang Y, Kotler JLM, Kuzmic P, Zhang M, Lawson AP, Joachimiak A, Cheung A, Snider BB, Rothstein DM, Cuny GD, Hedstrom L.ACS Infect Dis. 2021 Sep 30. doi: 10.1021/acsinfecdis.1c00342.   PMID: 34590817

Target highlights in CASP14: Analysis of models by structure providers. Alexander LT, Lepore R, Kryshtafovych A, Adamopoulos A, Alahuhta M, Arvin AM, Bomble YJ, Böttcher B, Breyton C, Chiarini V, Chinnam NB, Chiu W, Fidelis K, Grinter R, Gupta GD, Hartmann MD, Hayes CS, Heidebrecht T, Ilari A, Joachimiak A, Kim Y, Linares R, Lovering AL, Lunin VV, Lupas AN, Makbul C, Michalska K, Moult J, Mukherjee PK, Nutt WS, Oliver SL, Perrakis A, Stols L, Tainer JA, Topf M, Tsutakawa SE, Valdivia-Delgado M, Schwede T.Proteins. 2021 Sep 25. doi: 10.1002/prot.26247. PMID: 34561912

Masitinib is a broad coronavirus 3CL inhibitor that blocks replication of SARS-CoV-2. Drayman N, DeMarco JK, Jones KA, Azizi SA, Froggatt HM, Tan K, Maltseva NI, Chen S, Nicolaescu V, Dvorkin S, Furlong K, Kathayat RS, Firpo MR, Mastrodomenico V, Bruce EA, Schmidt MM, Jedrzejczak R, Muñoz-Alía MÁ, Schuster B, Nair V, Han KY, O'Brien A, Tomatsidou A, Meyer B, Vignuzzi M, Missiakas D, Botten JW, Brooke CB, Lee H, Baker SC, Mounce BC, Heaton NS, Severson WE, Palmer KE, Dickinson BC, Joachimiak A, Randall G, Tay S.Science. 2021 Aug 20;373(6557):931-936. doi: 10.1126/science.abg5827. Epub 2021 Jul 20.  PMID: 34285133



Current Beamline Statistics

SBC Beamline Scientist Position Opening: Apply here 

APS-U Capabilities with SBC and eBERlight

New opportunities are now available at SBC with Serial crystallography (SSX).

The APS-U will provide a highly brilliant beam ideally suited for serial crystallography methods.  Serial crystallography methods have many advantages: they are more biologically relevant at room temperatures and reduce radiation damage by order of magnitude per structure. It also encourages the use of small or x-ray sensitive samples with the ability to perform time-resolved measurements.  Advances in SSX experiments are paramount for the APS-U. This method is expected to flourish with the significant increase in x-ray flux density and a concomitant rise in multi-crystal datasets.  If you are interested, please contact Darren Sherrell (   Recent publication: 2'-O methylation of RNA cap in SARS-CoV-2 captured by serial crystallography.

The 2021 APS/CNM Users Meeting was held virtually during the weeks of May 3-7 and May 10-14, 2021. Please check the links below for meeting program materials and archives.

2021 Users Meeting Program Information | Advanced Photon Source (

May 6, 2021 
APS Training #6:  Dynamic X-ray Crystallography, Darren Sherrell (co-organizer)

May 11 & 12, 2021
APS WK#9:  Advances in COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment Enabled by Structural Biology Research, Karolina Michalska (co-organizer)

Virtual APS Tour - Click Here