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Methods Cell Biol 2009 Jan 01;91:89-109. doi: 10.1016/S0091-679X(08)91005-0.
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X-ray fiber diffraction studies on flagellar axonemes.

Oiwa K , Kamimura S , Iwamoto H .

Eukaryotic cilia and flagella are highly ordered and precisely assembled cellular organelles. Here, to understand the mechanism of the orderly undulations of cilia and flagella, we shall draw a blueprint of their core structures and supporting scaffolds, that is, axonemes, and we shall describe the dynamic structural changes of components of the organelles. Small-angle X-ray scattering and diffraction are among the principal tools used to study protein polymers. These methods are now well established as indispensable tools that complement electron microscopy, providing information on the structure and dynamics of biological materials at atomic resolution in near-physiological environments. For instance, X-ray diffraction studies of skeletal muscles have contributed greatly to our understanding of the structure and molecular mechanisms of muscles. However, owing to the minute size and low diffracting power of axonemes, few attempts at X-ray diffraction of axonemes have been reported. The advent of third-generation synchrotron radiation facilities now makes these attempts feasible, because we now have stable and intense X-rays that enable us to obtain diffractions from the axonemes. In this chapter, we provide a concise practical guide to this new avenue for structural analysis of axonemes.

PubMed ID: 20409782
Article link: Methods Cell Biol