Scripps acquires Rigaku Desktop Minstrel UV crystal imaging system to enhance their high throughput crystallization facility

Scripps acquires Rigaku Desktop Minstrel UV crystal imaging system to enhance their high throughput crystallization facility

Carlsbad, CA— July 7, 2009. Rigaku Americas Corporation today announced that they are working with the Joint Center for Structural Genomics (JCSG) on an automated ultraviolet (UV) imaging and protein crystal monitoring system to accelerate identification of crystals to be harvested for X-ray crystallographic structure determination. These new developments, based on the new Rigaku Desktop Minstrel UV instrument acquired in 2008 by the JCSG, will supplement the existing large-scale, high-throughput Rigaku CrystalMation system at the JCSG's robotic crystallization facility housed at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI). The JCSG, a world leader in Structural Genomics, is one of four large-scale production centers funded the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as part of the ongoing Protein Structure Initiative (PSI), a ten-year project to determine the three-dimensional (3D) structure of a wide range of proteins.

Protein crystallization trials at the JCSG rely on automated robotic systems. The introduction of the Rigaku CrystalMation system into the JCSG pipeline has boosted the Center's capacity for crystallization trials by approximately 4,000 96-well plates per month and helped them achieve the phenomenal rate of over 200 unique structures per year. This level of throughput has highlighted areas that have been difficult to automate - such as analysis and scoring of crystallization trials for the presence of protein crystals. The new UV technology used in the Rigaku Desktop Minstrel UV allows for unambiguous identification of protein crystals, even in drops that contain salt crystals and other amorphous precipitate. In a recent interview, JCSG researcher Dr. Marc Elsliger explains that "in addition to the immediate use of UV imaging to decipher protein from salt crystals, we foresee that this technology can be harnessed for automated identification of protein crystals and, more importantly, a more reliable and quantitative autoscoring of the crystallization trials." In discussing the future of robotic crystallization at the JCSG, he elaborated, "Through a strategic partnership agreement with Rigaku Automation, we aim to attack one of the last few remaining hurdles in fully automated, HT crystallization screening. We believe that the use of UV crystal imaging integrated with advanced autoscoring algorithms will provide a solution to addressing the current obstacles in automated HT crystal detection and screening." Experimental work to evaluate and further develop this new system is currently underway.

Rigaku Desktop Minstrel UV is the world's first fully automated ultraviolet imaging and protein crystal monitoring system that uses Ultraviolet Fluorescence (UVF) microscopy. Engineered and optimized for use in protein crystallization experiments, this new instrument is a major advance over previous visible light microscopy techniques because its UVF technology can easily distinguish protein crystals from non-protein crystals (such as salt). The system is bundled with advanced CrystalTrak software for automatic imaging of crystallization experiments; furthermore, it links the acquired images with crystallization conditions in a SQL relational database, providing a complete virtual crystallization laboratory.

About the Joint Center for Structural Genomics

The JCSG is one of four large-scale production centers that form the core of the Protein Structure Initiative (PSI), established in 2000 by the NIH, National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). This large-scale structural genomics effort is aimed at developing and advancing high-throughput three-dimensional structure determination of a wide range of proteins. This program, which has become one of the country's most high-profile, large-scale biomedical research initiatives, has made dramatic advances towards reducing the cost, time and effort it takes to determine a protein structure. Through its efforts to make the three-dimensional atomic-level structures of most proteins easily obtainable from knowledge of their corresponding DNA sequences, the PSI aims at delivering a key resource for advancement of basic and applied life sciences. Having a comprehensive collection of the structures of diverse proteins, coupled with the computational tools for their analysis, provides key data for uncovering the function of these proteins.

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