In the field of structural biology, Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS) has undergone a
tremendous evolution in the last two decades. From a craft reserved to a few experts in the late 80’s, it
has now turned into a high-throughput technique, following the same trend as macromolecular crystallography.
Synchrotron radiation has played a key role in this evolution, by providing intense X-ray
beams of high optical quality that made possible the recording of statistically meaningful data from
weakly scattering biological solutions in a reasonable time. This, in turn, prompted the development of
powerful and specific software for data analysis and modeling. In this mini-review, mainly addressed
towards a broad readership, representing as many potential users, we try to summarize the latest aspects of evolution of
BioSAXS, both conceptually and from the point of view of instrumentation. We emphasize the need for complementary
experimental or computational techniques used in combination with SAXS. The great potential of these multi-pronged approaches
is illustrated by a series of very recent studies covering the various ways and means of using BioSAXS.
Keywords: Beamline, biological macromolecules, conformation, hybrid methods, small-angle X-ray Scattering, solution, structure.
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