An Instruct/CIISB course took place at the CMS, IBT, Biocev on April 5 and 6, 2018.
This course/workshop allowed participants, with some prior knowledge and experience in macromolecular crystallography, to access the biophysical measurements section and the crystal handling/X-ray diffraction section of the Instruct CZ / CIISB CMS core facility for three practical work sessions.
The course started with a session of seven lectures (preceded by an introduction by Dr Jan Dohnalek, who introduced the Centre of Molecular Structure, the CIISB and Eric-Instruct). The lectures were aimed at providing a comprehensive introduction to the field of fragment and small molecule screening. Of particular interest were the lectures given by three of the invited foreign speakers, who have contributed extensively to the field.
The workshop part of the course (three half days) allowed the participants to acquire practical experience on how to apply fragment-screening techniques to a real case, using endothiapepsin (generous gift of Prof. A. Heine, U. of Marburg). From published work, three fragments were selected for the practical sessions. In addition, an additional three fragments (never studied before) were used during the dry runs for the preparation of the practical sessions. For pre-screening using biophysical methods, the practical work involved both labelled and label-free microscale thermophoresis, and differential scanning fluorimetry. The practical sessions dealing with crystal delivery to a library of fragments allowed crystal handling and transfer using both Intelliplates as well as the Jena Bioscience plates containing a 96-fragment library. The final session (X-ray diffraction) involved data collection using soaked crystals, in-situ data collection as well as the viewing of (difference) Fourier maps showing fragment density.
In all, the course welcomed 19 registered participants working in 11 countries, with invited speakers from Germany and the U.K., together with the local speakers and course tutors. The session of lectures was well attended, with ca. 30 attendees having signed the attendance sheet (the entire audience, including the registered participants and teachers / tutors is estimated at ca. 70).
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