Cryoelectron microscopy

Andrea Alfieri
tel. 0382.985525

Cryoelectron microscopy (cryo-EM) allows scientists to determine the structures of biological macromolecules (proteins, nucleic acids and their complexes) at near-atomic resolution. The sample is purified and vitrified in electron microscopy grids using liquid ethane and liquid nitrogen. No colouring or fixation is needed. The technique maintains the sample in a paraphysiological aqueous environment, where multiple native conformations of the macromolecules can be visualized even simultaneously. The acquisition of hundreds of thousands of 2D projections of a particle allows to reconstruct its 3D structure by computational methods (“single particle analysis”