Service / Technology Instance

About X-ray Diffraction, Grenoble, EMBL

EMBL Grenoble offers access to a fully automated protein to structure pipeline based on the CrystalDirect technology an the CRIMS software. Starting from purified samples, this pipeline integrates automated crystallization screening, crystal growth optimisation, automated crystal harvesting and cryocooling and X-ray diffraction data collection in a continuous and fully automated workflow operated over the Internet.

Instruments Available:

Mail-in, fully automated, remote controlled protein-to-structure pipeline integrating crystallization screening and optimization automated crystal harvesting and cryocooling and automated or remote X-ray data collection. Based on CrystalDirect technology the CRIMS software.

User Guide

EMBL Grenoble operates the High Throughput Crystallization Facility (HTX lab), a large scale user facility offering HT crystallography services. Since the start of operations in 2003 the HTX lab has provided services to over 800 scientists and processes more than 1000 samples per year. The HTX lab has a strong focus in the development of new methods in macromolecular crystallography, including methods for sample evaluation and quality control ( Dupeux et al., 2011. Acta Cryst. D67, Mariaule et al., 2014. Methods in Molecular Biology1091) and the CrystalDirect technology, enabling fully automated crystal mounting and processing (Cipriani & Marquez 2012 Acta Cryst. D68, 1393–1399; Zander et al. (2016) Acta Cryst. D72, 454-466). The HTX lab has also developed the Crystallization Information Management System (CRIMS), a web-based laboratory information system that provides automated communication between crystallization and synchrotron data collection facilities, enabling uninterrupted information flow over the whole sample cycle from pure protein to diffraction data. This software is currently in operation in multiple laboratories across Europe. Through the combination of the CrystalDirect technology and the CRIMS software the HTX lab has developed the concept of Online Crystallography: Fully automated, remote controlled crystallography pipelines integrating crystallization screening, crystal optimization, crystal mounting and cryo-cooling and automated X-ray data collection (at ESRF, PETRA III and SLS synchrotrons) into continuous workflows controlled though dedicated web interfaces. This approach minimizes the delay between crystal growth and measurement, accelerating the progression of very challenging projects. The CrystalDirect technology also enables automated crystal soaking making it possible to support automated, large scale small molecule and Fragment Screening through crystallography efficiently and in a short time. 
Currently we offer access to the following pipelines:
• Online Crystallography (protein-to-structure pipeline)
• Fragment Screening (based on CrystalDirect)
• Screening and structural characterization of ligand-target complexes (based on CrystalDirect)
X-ray diffraction data collection is typically carried out at the MX beamlines of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) operated by the  ESRF- EMBL Joint Structural Biology Group.
Specific equipment
TTP-Labtech nanovolume crystallization robot with LCP module, high-capacity Tecan robotic liquid handling station, Fomulator-16 system for automated preparation of optimization screens, 2 x 1000 plate crystallization imaging robots (10 and 4 deg, Vis and UV imaging), Labcyte ECHO acoustic dispensing system,  2x  CrystalDirect harvesting robots, cryogenic crystal storage systems. User dedicated laboratory facilities. 
For more information on the different access modalities and user information please, check our website.

Instruct Centre

EMBL Grenoble

71 avenue des Martyrs

38042, Grenoble


X-ray Diffraction, Grenoble, EMBL


Jose A. Marquez
Jose A. Marquez
EMBL Grenoble
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