Cryo-electron microscopy (CryoEM) has superseded X-ray crystallography and NMR to emerge as a popular and effective tool for structure determination in recent times. It has become indispensable for the characterization of large macromolecular assemblies, membrane proteins, or samples that are limited, conformationally heterogeneous, and recalcitrant to crystallization. Besides, it is the only tool capable of elucidating high-resolution structures of macromolecules and biological assemblies in situ. A state-of-the-art electron microscope operable at cryo-temperature helps preserve high-resolution details of the biological sample. The structures can be determined, either in isolation via single-particle analysis (SPA) or helical reconstruction, electron diffraction (ED) or within the cellular environment via cryo-electron tomography (cryoET). All the three streams of SPA, ED, and cryoET (along with subtomogram averaging) have undergone significant advancements in recent times. This has resulted in breaking the boundaries with respect to both the size of the macromolecules/assemblies whose structures could be determined along with the visualization of atomic details at resolutions unprecedented for cryoEM. In addition, the collection of larger datasets combined with the ability to sort and process multiple conformational states from the same sample are providing the much-needed link between the protein structures and their functions. In overview, these developments are helping scientists decipher the molecular mechanism of critical cellular processes, solve structures of macromolecules that were challenging targets for structure determination until now, propelling forward the fields of biology and biomedicine. Here, we summarize recent advances and key contributions of the three cryo-electron microscopy streams of SPA, ED, and cryoET.
An overview of the recent advances in cryo-electron microscopy for life sciences
- Views Icon Views
- Share Icon Share
Anshul Assaiya, Ananth Prasad Burada, Surbhi Dhingra, Janesh Kumar; An overview of the recent advances in cryo-electron microscopy for life sciences. Emerg Top Life Sci 14 May 2021; 5 (1): 151–168. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/ETLS20200295
Download citation file: