Proteins are the molecular machines of all cells, and as with any machine, it is impossible to understand how a protein works without knowing what it looks like — that is, imaging its three-dimensional structure. The Advanced Protein Characterization Facility (APCF) will help us to "see" proteins more quickly and with higher proficiency than before. The newly designed and optimized space the APCF provides allows researchers to establish a highly specialized laboratory devoted to tailored to specific projects, especially those focused on structure determination of classes of proteins and macromolecular assemblies. The increase in space emboldens plans to pursue additional programmatic support and new equipment. The APCF also supports Argonne’s ongoing experimental and computational systems work in biology, funded by both the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health.
The APCF’s long-term goal is to advance the molecular and structural understanding of proteins by providing high-quality structural models for a significant fraction of biomedically and biologically important proteins and protein families. We will continue to improve the structure determination platform so that it can be applied to production of these challenging proteins and protein complexes, including membrane proteins.
As part of their mandates, the Midwest Center for Structural Genomics (MCSG), the Center of Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases (CSGID), and the Structural Biology Center (SBC) will also continue to develop new, advanced technologies, and to refine rapid, highly integrated, and cost-effective methods for structure determination by X-ray crystallography using high-efficiency beamlines at third-generation synchrotron sources and future fourth-generation sources. The APCF’s ultimate goal is to build, together with our Protein Structure Initiative colleagues and the systems and structural biology communities, a foundation for 21st century biology where the high-quality structural models of virtually any protein or protein complex will be available through the Protein Data Bank, an international repository of protein structures, or computer modeling.