Institute of Crystallography (IC) - Bari


BioSAXS is a technique used for structural studies of proteins in their native state. BioSAXS helps identify structural states and changes of biological macromolecules and relate these changes to their functions. In fact, many diseases are related to the misfolding of biological macromolecules. Structure changes can occur as a function of time, pH, ionic strength, and changes under various solution conditions.
BioSAXS is extremely functional also for studies of new pharmaceutical products. In the pharmaceutical field, administration systems consisting of nanocarriers that allow loading and transport of active ingredients are of great interest. These nanocarriers (micelles, vesicles, nanoemulsions, liposomes, cubosomes, polymer gel nanoparticles, nanostructured membranes), typically ranging in size from 10 to 500 nm, readily deliver the required amount of drugs to a specifically targeted part, where they have previously been translocated. It is essential to understand how much and in which part of the nanocarrier the drug has been loaded, since its efficacy and its fate depend on these values.
Very often BioSAXS data are collected at dedicated synchrotron light source beamlines, with access conditioned to the submission of competitive proposals and following a strict schedule (twice a year). Furthermore, with synchrotron light sources, there are at least two critical aspects to take into consideration: produce a sample or a series of samples of sufficient quality not to invalidate data collection (and therefore frustrate the experiment); handle samples with a certain degree of toxicity or specific criticality due to exposure in air.
Laboratory BioSAXS will allow to conduct preliminary studies, select the best samples to be analyzed (possibly) in synchrotron light laboratories. Furthermore, if equipped with Size Exclusion Cromathograhy (SEC-BioSAXS) and Ultra Small Angle Scattering (USAXS), it will be possible to study macromolecules, selected by size, up to 1 micron. Finally, a reactivity chamber will allow to manage samples in an inert or controlled atmosphere, avoiding exposure of the substances to oxygen during handling.

O.U. P.I.: Cinzia Giannini

People Involved: Rocco Lassandro, Teresa Sibillano, Davide Altamura, Dritan Siliqi, Anna Daniela Malerba, Liberato De Caro

Application: Scattering technique aimed to determine size, shape (3D nanoscale structure) of proteins and nanosystems