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Cell. 2015 Apr 23;161(3):438-449. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.03.050.

A primer to single-particle cryo-electron microscopy.

Author information

1
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA.
2
Janelia Research Campus, 19700 Helix Drive, Ashburn, VA 20147, USA.
3
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The University of Texas-Houston Medical School, 6431 Fannin Street, MSB 6.220, Houston, TX 77030, USA.
4
Department of Cell Biology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard Medical School, 240 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA. Electronic address: twalz@hms.harvard.edu.

Abstract

Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) of single-particle specimens is used to determine the structure of proteins and macromolecular complexes without the need for crystals. Recent advances in detector technology and software algorithms now allow images of unprecedented quality to be recorded and structures to be determined at near-atomic resolution. However, compared with X-ray crystallography, cryo-EM is a young technique with distinct challenges. This primer explains the different steps and considerations involved in structure determination by single-particle cryo-EM to provide an overview for scientists wishing to understand more about this technique and the interpretation of data obtained with it, as well as a starting guide for new practitioners.

PMID:
25910204
PMCID:
PMC4409659
DOI:
10.1016/j.cell.2015.03.050
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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