Frequently Asked Questions

How much sample should I prepare?

It depends on what kind of projects are you planning to do. For negative staining, you should prepare only about 0.01mg/ml, 20μl. And for cryo-EM structure analysis, a sample between 1~2mg/ml, 100~200μl is required in general, more if the sample needs further purification. We suggest you to send it along with buffer since the sample might need to be diluted if it is too concentrated. Sample requirements may be different depending on sample conditions and other variables, please contact us and let our scientists discuss it with you along with other questions for sample preparation in advance.

Usually, the purity level should be over 90% which allows the sample to be shown as a sharp unimodal distribution on SEC, and no hetero band or degradation band on SDS-PAGE. As purity requirements differ from sample to sample, we would suggest a direct discussion with our scientist of protein production.

Our cryo-EM platform accepts purified samples for structure analysis. Please provide information about your sample according to our sample information form. And our specialists will do a quick evaluation for its applicability for cryo-EM analysis, and then discuss with you directly to provide detailed suggestions about the concentration, amount and purity for sample preparation.

We strongly recommend you to pack samples with dry ice to keep them at appropriate temperature, along with adequate padding to ensure that they will not be damaged during transit. Rare but possible, some proteins are not suitable for freeze-thawing, a test is highly suggested before the delivery. For letting us receive your delivery in time and preserve your sample at its best condition, please follow the instruction of our project manager and fill out the sample information form with all the necessary details. They will assist you with the delivery.

International shipment procedures can be different depending on the place of departure, and express service you picked. Normally, documentation will be prepared and submitted within 7 days after the contract is signed. With the shipment approval, you can send out your sample, and it takes 7 days to ship the sample to our cryo-EM lab on average. Please contact us and a professional will be appointed to assist.

Shuimu also provides protein production service which allows us to deliver a total solution from sequence to structure including genetic design, protein purification, expression, data collection and structure analysis.

We do provide a cryo-EM access booking service and for clients with cryo-EM and structure biology knowledge, access booking could be a good choice. We also provide a related service called Shuimu Care - our leading scientists will assist for further data interpreting and modeling

In our service contract, there will be a milestone list with every key step through the whole project, and the service will be charged by milestones. Taking SPA as an example, the first milestone is usually negative staining to check the concentration of the sample. With a go for negative staining, the next milestones will be survey and data collection under cryo-EM. With proper raw data, the next milestone will be preliminary analysis, and a density map will be delivered at this stage. If a 3D structure model is required, then the next milestone will be 3D modeling done by our scientists.

How long it takes varies from weeks to months based on the readiness and condition of the sample. If a proper protein sample is provided, we will check the cryo-EM availability, and it will take 2-3 months for you to get a structure analysis report from us. If we are provided with a sequence to start with, another 1-2 months will be added on top of the time for analysis. If you have specific requirements or questions about result delivery time, please inform our specialists during your consulting.

For local clients, hard disc delivery is our go-to method for data transfer, and for international clients, we suggest AWS. We are open to discuss with you if there is any specific need regarding data tranfer.

Shuimu treats data security seriously. Only the appointed project manager and scientist will have access to your data. Their information will be disclosed to you in the contract.

For a standard structure analysis service, you will get: density map, structure model, the final report (hard copy or e-copy) and raw data.