Rigaku Introduces the Minstrel™ HT UV for High Throughput Crystal Imaging

Rigaku Introduces the Minstrel HT UV for High Throughput Crystal Imaging

Carlsbad, CA— December 15, 2009. Rigaku Automation announced the introduction of the Minstrel HT UV, the world's first fully automated high-throughput ultraviolet (UV) and visible (VIS) crystal imaging and protein crystal monitoring system. Engineered and optimized for use in protein crystallization experiments, this new robotic instrument is a major advance over previous visible light microscopy technology because its UV technology can find crystals in complex drops and easily distinguish protein crystals from non-protein crystals (such as salt or detergents). The Minstrel HT UV employs Clean Light Technology™, providing illumination with the wavelength optimized for the absorption of the fluorescing amino acids, while greatly reducing the light that can result in photo damage to proteins. The fluorescent light resulting from the protein is then digitally recorded by a specialized 5.1 megapixel CCD sensor. This camera, attached to a unique single microscope optical train, also allows for UV imaging to be combined with either monochromatic, color, or polarized color imaging in visible spectrum. In keeping with Rigaku's commitment to furthering drug discovery and development, all currently installed Minstrel HT systems may be upgraded to the Minstrel HT UV specification.

Traditional UV illumination sources, such as mercury or deuterium can cause irreparable damage to protein crystals - making it nearly impossible to use the original crystal hits for structure solution. However, with Clean Light Technology from Rigaku, original crystal hits may also be used for structure solution, since the illumination does not affect the diffraction quality of the crystals, as seen in our research labs.

Experiments, using the Clean Light Technology, have shown that crystals screened with our UV can be used for X-ray diffraction data collection, saving valuable time and expense. Clean Light Technology can be focused only into the well of interest, and is "strobed" to further minimize UV exposure time. The result is an average exposure time of 1-2 seconds per imaging session. Additional experiments indicate that exposure times as high as 50 hours of Clean Light Technology have no effect on the diffraction quality of the crystals, and exposure times of 25 minutes or less have no effect on the electron density maps.

The Minstrel HT UV system comes with CrystalTrak software for automatic imaging of crystallization experiments. It links those images with crystallization conditions in a relational database, providing a complete virtual crystallization laboratory. CrystalTrak provides a chemical and crystallization database, data analysis tools, and methods for easily designing optimization and initial crystallization screens. CrystalTrak also provides a simple, yet powerful interface, for viewing images and conditions to evaluate and score crystals. Finally, CrystalTrak Web uses web browser technologies to provide remote viewing over the web or across other platforms such as Mac/OS or LINUX®.

Rigaku—Leading With Innovation

Since its inception in Japan in 1951, Rigaku has been at the forefront of analytical and industrial instrumentation technology. Rigaku and its subsidiaries form a global group focused on life sciences and general purpose analytical instrumentation. With hundreds of major innovations to their credit, Rigaku companies are world leaders in the fields of small molecule and protein crystallography, X-ray spectrometry and diffraction, X-ray optics, as well as semiconductor metrology. Rigaku employs over 1,100 people in the manufacture and support of its analytical equipment. Its products are in use in more than 70 countries—supporting research, development, and quality assurance activities. Throughout the world, Rigaku continuously promotes partnerships, dialog, and innovation within the global scientific and industrial community.

For further information, contact:

Rigaku Automation
5999 Avenida Encinas #150
Carlsbad, CA 92008
Tel: +1.760.438.5282 x129
eMail: info@rigaku.com