Cryo-electron tomography: 3-dimensional imaging of soft matter

Fabio Nudelman, Gijsbertus de With, Nico A. J. M. Sommerdijk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The advent of cryogenic-transmission electron microscopy (cryoTEM) signified a breakthrough in the in situ imaging of hydrated specimens of biological and synthetic origin allowing their study in a state of preservation that is close to native. An inherent limitation to cryoTEM, however, is that images are 2-dimensional projections of the 3-dimensional objects, resulting in the overlapping of multiple features that cannot be discerned. Cryo-electron tomography (cryoET) is essential to overcome this limitation. In this technique images of the specimen are acquired at different tilt angles and then reconstructed into the 3-dimensional object, revealing detailed information on the structure, morphology or 3-dimensional spatial organization of (bio) macromolecules and (macro) molecular assemblies. This information then can be coupled to processes happening in the 3-dimensional space, making cryoET an invaluable tool to bridge between the structural organization in space and the function or activity of macromolecular complexes at the nanometre scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-24
Number of pages8
JournalSoft Matter
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords

  • TRANSMISSION ELECTRON-MICROSCOPY
  • MULTICOMPARTMENT MICELLES
  • CRYO-TEM
  • COPOLYMERS
  • PEPTIDE
  • CACO3
  • WATER
  • MONOLAYERS
  • LIPOSOMES
  • CELLS

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