Liquid-EM goes viral - visualizing structure and dynamics

Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2022 Aug:75:102426. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2022 Jul 19.


Liquid-electron microscopy (EM), the room temperature correlate to cryo-EM, is an exciting new technique delivering real-time data of dynamic reactions in solution. Here, we explain how liquid-EM gained popularity in recent years by examining key experiments conducted on viral assemblies and host-pathogen interactions. We describe developing workflows for specimen preparation, data collection, and computing processes that led to the first high-resolution virus structures in a liquid environment. Equally important, we review why liquid-electron tomography may become the next big thing in biomedical research due to its ability to monitor live viruses entering cells within seconds. Taken together, we pose the idea that liquid-EM can serve as a dynamic complement to current cryo-EM methods, inspiring the "real-time revolution" in nanoscale imaging.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cryoelectron Microscopy / methods
  • Electron Microscope Tomography*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Viral Structures
  • Viruses* / chemistry