Services Provided by the NMR Core Facility
- Provides advanced nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometers and related equipment for the study of macromolecular structure and dynamics in solution by experienced users. In this capacity the core facility primarily provides the research tools in which to perform detailed measurements on complex biological systems.
- Provides non-expert members of the DOE laboratory with access to NMR spectroscopy for more routine applications. These applications include: screening wild-type and mutated protein samples to determine their structural integrity, making small molecule binding affinity measurements, and temperature and denaturant studies of protein stability.
Facilities and Equipment
The facility contains four Bruker NMR spectrometers: two 500 MHz and one 600 MHz DRX, and one 800 MHz Avance spectrometer. All four spectrometers are equipped with four radiofrequency channels and three-axis field gradients, and can perform virtually all modern NMR experiments. The 800 MHz and one of the 500 MHz spectrometers each have TCI cryoprobes, and the 600 MHz spectrometer has a TXI cryoprobe. In addition, each spectrometer has two conventional probes. The facility also contains various small equipment to enable sample manipulation without the need to return to the main laboratories. This equipment includes a pH meter, temperature controlled water bath, magnetic stirrer with heating plates, and pipetting equipment.
The facility is located in the Molecular Sciences Building in two rooms that were constructed to optimally house NMR instrumentation. The three lower-field instruments are in one room in the main building, and the 800 MHz instrument is in an annex of MSB that was built to house it. The rooms house only NMR spectrometers and related equipment and are both in a single story section of the building that was designed to isolate the facility from vibrations and magnetic disturbances. In this way optimal field homogeneity and long term stability are achieved. The rooms are also equipped with air handling and temperature systems that maintain a stable environment. Other special room features include: air drying units and nitrogen gas lines that provide the spectrometers with dry air or nitrogen for temperature regulation, and liquid nitrogen transfer lines that allow nitrogen fills without magnetic field disturbances at adjacent magnets. Each spectrometer is also equipped with an uninterruptible power supply that ensures stable and clean power, and provides up to 20 minutes of emergency power in case of a total power failure.
Mode of Operation
The UCLA-DOE NMR Core Facility has two primary modes of operation. At present, almost all of the instrument time is shared between the Clubb and Feigon laboratories which use more advanced NMR spectroscopic techniques in their research programs. In the second mode of operation the facility serves the needs of members of the DOE laboratory and the university community by performing more basic NMR experiments and by providing training and supervision of inexperienced users.
Instrumentation in the facility is maintained by the facility manager and members of the two primary research teams. The manager either supervises or actively participates in cryogen fills, software and hardware upgrades, general system maintenance and trouble-shoots any problems that arise. The facility manager also provides assistance and training to all spectrometer users to help them successfully complete their research projects.