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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Jun 11;116(24):11718-11724. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1904766116. Epub 2019 May 24.

Multifunctional graphene supports for electron cryomicroscopy.

Author information

1
Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, CB2 0QH, United Kingdom.
2
Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, CB2 0QH, United Kingdom crusso@mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk.

Abstract

With recent technological advances, the atomic resolution structure of any purified biomolecular complex can, in principle, be determined by single-particle electron cryomicroscopy (cryoEM). In practice, the primary barrier to structure determination is the preparation of a frozen specimen suitable for high-resolution imaging. To address this, we present a multifunctional specimen support for cryoEM, comprising large-crystal monolayer graphene suspended across the surface of an ultrastable gold specimen support. Using a low-energy plasma surface modification system, we tune the surface of this support to the specimen by patterning a range of covalent functionalizations across the graphene layer on a single grid. This support design reduces specimen movement during imaging, improves image quality, and allows high-resolution structure determination with a minimum of material and data.

KEYWORDS:

cryoEM; graphene functionalization; low-energy plasma; structure determination

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Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of interest statement: The authors are inventors on patent applications owned by the Medical Research Council, related to this work.

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