Apr 20, 2011

Future prospects

Advances in Protein Chemistry and Structural Biology
Michael G RossmannPavel Plevka

Abstract

Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) in combination with single-particle analysis has begun to complement crystallography in the study of large macromolecules at near-atomic resolution. Furthermore, advances in cryo-electron tomography have made possible the study of macromolecules within their cellular environment. Single-particle and tomographic studies will become even more useful when technologies for improving the signal-to-noise ratio such as direct electron detectors and phase plates become widely available. Automated image acquisition has significantly reduced the time and effort required to determine the structures of macromolecular assemblies. As a result, the number of structures determined by cryo-EM is growing exponentially. However, there is an urgent need for improved criteria for validating both the reconstruction process and the atomic models derived from cryo-EM data. Another major challenge will be mitigating the effects of anisotropy caused by the missing wedge and the excessively low signal-to-noise ratio for tomographic data. Parallels between the development of macromolecular crystallography and cryo-EM have been used to tentatively predict the future of cryo-EM.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Electron Microscope Tomography
Etiology
Macromolecule
Cryoelectron Microscopy
Metazoa
Crystallography

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