Visualizing a protein quake with time-resolved X-ray scattering at a free-electron laser

David Arnlund, Linda C. Johansson, Cecilia Wickstrand, Anton Barty, Garth J. Williams, Erik Malmerberg, Jan Davidsson, Despina Milathianaki, Daniel P. DePonte, Robert L. Shoeman, Dingjie Wang, Daniel James, Gergely Katona, Sebastian Westenhoff, Thomas A. White, Andrew Aquila, Sadia Bari, Peter Berntsen, Mike Bogan, Tim Brandt Van DrielR. Bruce Doak, Kasper Skov Kjær, Matthias Frank, Raimund Fromme, Ingo Grotjohann, Robert Henning, Mark S. Hunter, Richard A. Kirian, Irina Kosheleva, Christopher Kupitz, Mengning Liang, Andrew V. Martin, Martin Meedom Nielsen, Marc Messerschmidt, M. Marvin Seibert, Jennie Sjöhamn, Francesco Stellato, Uwe Weierstall, Nadia A. Zatsepin, John C.H. Spence, Petra Fromme, Ilme Schlichting, Sébastien Boutet, Gerrit Groenhof, Henry N. Chapman, Richard Neutze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

108 Scopus citations


We describe a method to measure ultrafast protein structural changes using time-resolved wide-angle X-ray scattering at an X-ray free-electron laser. We demonstrated this approach using multiphoton excitation of the Blastochloris viridis photosynthetic reaction center, observing an ultrafast global conformational change that arises within picoseconds and precedes the propagation of heat through the protein. This provides direct structural evidence for a 'protein quake': the hypothesis that proteins rapidly dissipate energy through quake-like structural motions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)923-926
Number of pages4
JournalNature Methods
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

Cite this

Arnlund, D., Johansson, L. C., Wickstrand, C., Barty, A., Williams, G. J., Malmerberg, E., Davidsson, J., Milathianaki, D., DePonte, D. P., Shoeman, R. L., Wang, D., James, D., Katona, G., Westenhoff, S., White, T. A., Aquila, A., Bari, S., Berntsen, P., Bogan, M., ... Neutze, R. (2014). Visualizing a protein quake with time-resolved X-ray scattering at a free-electron laser. Nature Methods, 11(9), 923-926.