Recent developments in atomic force microscopy (AFM) image analysis have made three-dimensional (3D) structural reconstruction of individual particles observed on 2D AFM height images a reality. Here, we review the emerging contact point reconstruction AFM (CPR-AFM) methodology and its application in 3D reconstruction of individual helical amyloid filaments in the context of the challenges presented by the structural analysis of highly polymorphous and heterogeneous amyloid protein structures. How individual particle-level structural analysis can contribute to resolving the amyloid polymorph structure–function relationships, the environmental triggers leading to protein misfolding and aggregation into amyloid species, the influences by the conditions or minor fluctuations in the initial monomeric protein structure on the speed of amyloid fibril formation, and the extent of the different types of amyloid species that can be formed, are discussed. Future perspectives in the capabilities of AFM-based 3D structural reconstruction methodology exploiting synergies with other recent AFM technology advances are also discussed to highlight the potential of AFM as an emergent general, accessible and multimodal structural biology tool for the analysis of individual biomolecules.

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