MicroED in natural product and small molecule research

Nat Prod Rep. 2021 Mar 1;38(3):423-431. doi: 10.1039/d0np00035c. Epub 2020 Sep 17.


Covering: 2013 to 2020The electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) method Microcrystal Electron Diffraction (MicroED) allows the collection of high-resolution structural data from vanishingly small crystals that appear like amorphous powders or very fine needles. Since its debut in 2013, data collection and analysis schemes have been fine-tuned, and there are currently close to 100 structures determined by MicroED. Although originally developed to study proteins, MicroED is also very powerful for smaller systems, with some recent and very promising examples from the field of natural products. Herein, we review what has been achieved so far and provide examples of natural product structures, as well as demonstrate the expected future impact of MicroED to the field of natural product and small molecule research.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biological Products / chemistry*
  • Biomedical Research
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy / methods*
  • Crystallization
  • Drug Discovery
  • Ligands
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission / methods
  • Models, Molecular
  • Proteins / chemistry*
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Small Molecule Libraries / chemistry*


  • Biological Products
  • Ligands
  • Proteins
  • Small Molecule Libraries