Overview and future of single particle electron cryomicroscopy

Arch Biochem Biophys. 2015 Sep 1;581:19-24. doi: 10.1016/j.abb.2015.02.036. Epub 2015 Mar 18.


Electron cryomicroscopy (cryoEM) has experienced a quantum leap in its capability in recent years, due to improved microscopes, better detectors and better software. It is now possible to obtain near-atomic resolution 3D density maps of macromolecular assemblies using single particle cryoEM without the need for crystals. Although this recent progress has produced some outstanding achievements, we have still only partly realised the full potential of single particle cryoEM. If one or two remaining problems can be solved, it will become an even more powerful method in structural biology that should closely approach the limit of what is theoretically possible.

Keywords: Amorphous ice; Beam-induced movement; CryoEM; Electron cryomicroscopy; Radiation damage; Single particle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cryoelectron Microscopy* / instrumentation
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy* / methods
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy* / trends
  • Humans
  • Molecular Biology* / instrumentation
  • Molecular Biology* / methods
  • Molecular Biology* / trends
  • Software*