Cryo-electron tomography: Gaining insight into cellular processes by structural approaches

Tal Yahav, Tal Maimon, Einat Grossman, Idit Dahan, Ohad Medalia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations

Abstract

Visualization of cellular processes at a resolution of the individual protein should involve integrative and complementary approaches that can eventually draw realistic functional and cellular landscapes. Electron tomography of vitrified but otherwise unaltered cells emerges as a central method for three-dimensional reconstruction of cellular architecture at a resolution of 2-6. nm. While a combination of correlative light-based microscopy with cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) provides medium-resolution insight into pivotal cellular processes, fitting high-resolution structural approaches, for example, X-ray crystallography, into reconstructed macromolecular assemblies provides unprecedented information on native protein assemblies. Thus, cryo-ET bridges the resolution gap between cellular and structural biology. In this article, we focus on the study of eukaryotic cells and macromolecular complexes in a close-to-life-state. We discuss recent developments and structural findings enabling major strides to be made in understanding complex physiological functions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)670-677
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Structural Biology
Volume21
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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