Cryo transmission electron microscopy (cryoTEM) is used with vitreous
ice-embedded samples as a quantitative tool to investigate the assembly, regulation and
function of biologically important macromolecular complexes. Despite continuous progress
in x-ray crystallographic and NMR methods, it is still difficult using these techniques
alone to obtain atomic level structural information about the many complex macromolecular
assemblies that govern fundamental cell biological processes. It is now clear that a
powerful approach is to combine structural information obtained at different levels. The
structural information obtained from cryoTEM and computer based 3-D reconstruction spans
the gap between our ability to obtain structural information about large macromolecular
assemblies using conventional light and electron microscopy, and high-resolution data
obtained from NMR or X-ray crystallography. These data can be combined to build up a
detailed picture of the overall architecture of the complexes and the interactions between
The development of an electron cryomicroscopy laboratory is a major
component of our ongoing low temperature electron microscopy initiative. The focus of the
electron cryomicroscopy laboratory will be analysis of macromolecules frozen in vitreous
ice. Another application of the newly installed 200KV electron cryomicroscope will be
electron tomography. We will be able to construct three-dimensional models of
The establishment of the electron cryomicroscopy laboratory is
another step in our continuing effort to obtain better morphological preservation with
less chemical processing. More of the history of the establishment
of cryo EM at AECOM may be read here.
Tan D, Asenjo AB, Mennella V, Sharp DJ, Sosa H. (2006) Kinesin-13s form rings around
microtubules. J Cell Biol. 2006 Oct 2; [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 17015621.
For more information on cryo EM at AECOM, please contact Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org.