Quarterly Reviews of Biophysics


Realizing the potential of electron cryo-microscopy

Richard Henderson a1
a1 MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 2QH, UK

Article author query
henderson r   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


1. Introduction 3

2. Background 5

3. 2D crystals 7

4. 1D crystals (helical arrays) 8

5. Icosahedral single particles 8

6. Single particles with lower symmetry 9

7. Cellular and subcellular electron tomography 10

8. Conclusion and future prospects 10

9. References 11

Structural analysis by electron microscopy of biological macromolecules or macromolecular assemblies embedded in rapidly frozen, vitreous ice has made great advances during the last few years. Electron cryo-microscopy, or cryo-EM, can now be used to analyse the structures of molecules arranged in the form of two-dimensional crystals, helical arrays or as single particles with or without symmetry. Although it has been possible, using crystalline or helical specimens, to reach a resolution adequate to build atomic models (4 Å), there is every hope this will soon also be possible with single particles. Small and large single particles present different obstacles to progress.

(Published Online June 8 2004)

c1 Tel.: +44-1223-402215; Fax: +44-1223-249565; E-mail: rh15@mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk