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Curr Opin Virol. 2011 Aug;1(2):110-7. doi: 10.1016/j.coviro.2011.05.019.

Near-atomic-resolution cryo-EM for molecular virology.

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  • 1National Center for Macromolecular Imaging, Verna and Marrs McLean Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) is a technique in structural biology that is widely used to solve the three-dimensional structures of macromolecular assemblies, close to their biological and solution conditions. Recent improvements in cryo-EM and single-particle reconstruction methodologies have led to the determination of several virus structures at near-atomic resolution (3.3 - 4.6 Å). These cryo-EM structures not only resolve the Cα backbones and side-chain densities of viral capsid proteins, but also suggest functional roles that the protein domains and some key amino acid residues play. This paper reviews the recent advances in near-atomic-resolution cryo-EM for probing the mechanisms of virus assembly and morphogenesis.

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