Cryo-EM with sub–1 Å specimen movement

Journal: Science

Published: 2020-10-09

DOI: 10.1126/science.abb7927

Affiliations: 3

Authors: 3

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Research Highlight

Taking sharper images of proteins faster

© Aitor Diago/Getty

© Aitor Diago/Getty

A powerful technique for imaging protein structures, cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM), has just got more powerful thanks to the development of a specimen support stage that minimizes specimen movement.

Structural biology has witnessed an explosion in the number of protein structures that have been determined in recent years using cryo-EM. But while cryo-EM recently achieved atomic resolution, one problem that has prevented it from realizing its full potential is sample movement induced by the electron beam.

Now, a trio that included a researcher from the University of Adelaide in South Australia has shown that most of the sample movement is caused by buckling of the ice used to support the sample.

Using this knowledge, they developed a gold specimen support stage that eliminates this buckling and keeps specimen movement to less than an angstrom, allowing them to obtain sharper images faster.

Supported content

  1. Science 370, 223–226 (2020). doi: 10.1126/science.abb7927
Institutions Share
MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB), United Kingdom (UK) 0.78
The University of Adelaide (Adelaide Uni), Australia 0.22