Radiation damage in macromolecular crystallography: What is it and why do we care?
Radiation damage inflicted during diffraction data collection in macromolecular crystallography has re-emerged in the last decade as a major experimental and computational challenge, as even for crystals held at 100 K it can result in severe data quality degradation and the appearance in solved structures of artifacts which affect biological interpretations. Here, the observable symptoms and basic physical processes involved in radiation damage will be described and the concept of absorbed dose as the basic metric against which to monitor the experimentally observed changes outlined. Investigations into radiation damage in macromolecular crystallography are ongoing and the number of studies is rapidly increasing as the topic has now become of mainstream interest. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.