Near-atomic-resolution cryo-EM for molecular virology

Curr Opin Virol. 2011 Aug;1(2):110-7. doi: 10.1016/j.coviro.2011.05.019.


Electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) is a technique in structural biology that is widely used to solve the three-dimensional structures of macromolecular assemblies, close to their biological and solution conditions. Recent improvements in cryo-EM and single-particle reconstruction methodologies have led to the determination of several virus structures at near-atomic resolution (3.3 - 4.6 Å). These cryo-EM structures not only resolve the Cα backbones and side-chain densities of viral capsid proteins, but also suggest functional roles that the protein domains and some key amino acid residues play. This paper reviews the recent advances in near-atomic-resolution cryo-EM for probing the mechanisms of virus assembly and morphogenesis.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Capsid Proteins / chemistry
  • Capsid Proteins / genetics
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Virology / methods*
  • Virus Diseases / virology
  • Viruses / chemistry*
  • Viruses / genetics
  • Viruses / metabolism


  • Capsid Proteins