Advances in high-resolution cryo-EM of oligomeric enzymes

Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2017 Oct;46:48-54. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2017 Jul 17.


Recent advances in cryo-electron microscopy instrumentation and software have made it possible to obtain atomic resolution structures of macromolecular complexes with a small amount of material at low concentration and without the need for crystallisation. Oligomeric enzymes are particularly well suited for this technique because of their symmetry and often large size or rigid structure and can be used to explore the limits of the technique. Conformational changes can reach their full extent in solution, not hampered by crystal contacts, and multiple conformations in a sample can be separated computationally. Cryo-EM structures can be solved de novo for large complexes that resist crystallisation or structure determination by crystallographic techniques.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cryoelectron Microscopy / methods*
  • Enzymes / chemistry*
  • Protein Multimerization*


  • Enzymes