Electron Microscopy

Structural Biology with Electron Microscopy

Cryo electron microscopy for native high resolution structural information.

Cutting-edge structural biology research requires that molecular mechanisms are studied at conditions that mirror, as closely as possible, the functional in vivo state of the molecules. Until recently, researchers relied on X-ray crystallography for structural determination, but these samples are, by definition, taken out of their native environment during crystallization. Not only that, but crystallization is time-consuming, and the technique is not suitable for all samples because some proteins do not crystallize. (Large protein complexes in particular, despite providing great insight into native function, have been difficult to stabilize and crystallize.) To maintain molecular structures in their functional states, samples should be studied in solution, in their native hydrated environment, which is now possible with cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM).

With cryo-EM, structural biologists can not only study proteins and viruses in their biologically relevant forms, but they can also determine how these samples interact with other marker molecules or compounds. For example, they can observe the mechanism by which a virus enters a cell or membrane-embedded proteins that rely on their hydrophobic environment to dictate their structure and function. Size, complexity, and flexibility are no longer roadblocks towards high-resolution structural characterization.

Cryo EM plot showing the potential protein structures enabled by the technique. Plot of protein structures currently found in the PDB versus their complexity. Cryo electron microscopy has the potential to unlock a new range of structural insight for larger, more complex systems.
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F-actin structure with tropomyosin determined with cryo EM.
Cryo-EM structure of F-actin decorated with tropomyosin (yellow) at 3.7 Å resolution. The atomic model is based on cryo-EM data (background). Courtesy of Julian von der Ecken and Prof. Dr. Stefan Raunser, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology.
SARS corona virus structure produced with cryo EM.
Cryo-TEM of SARS corona virus (background) with 3D reconstruction overlay (foreground). Image courtesy of Daniel Beniac.
F-actin structure with tropomyosin determined with cryo EM.
Cryo-EM structure of F-actin decorated with tropomyosin (yellow) at 3.7 Å resolution. The atomic model is based on cryo-EM data (background). Courtesy of Julian von der Ecken and Prof. Dr. Stefan Raunser, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology.
SARS corona virus structure produced with cryo EM.
Cryo-TEM of SARS corona virus (background) with 3D reconstruction overlay (foreground). Image courtesy of Daniel Beniac.

Samples


Proteins Analysis

Cryo electron microscopy provides near-atomic resolution 3D protein structure. It can determine structural information for complexes and crystallization-resistant samples, as well as vital cellular context.

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Biopharmaceutical Research

Structural drug discovery is enabled by cryo electron microscopy, as the method provides near-atomic-resolution detail for small molecules and protein biologics in their fully hydrated state.

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Virus Analysis

Cryo-EM enables the 3D structural visualization of virus particles, and the antigen-antibody interface, at near-atomic resolutions. A virus’s inherent structural symmetry makes it the ideal target for cryo EM analysis.

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Single Particle Analysis

Single particle analysis (SPA) is a cryo electron microscopy technique that enables structural characterization at near-atomic resolutions, unraveling dynamic biological processes and the structure of biomolecular complexes/assemblies.

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Cryo-Tomography

Cryo electron tomography (cryo-ET) delivers both structural information about individual proteins as well as their spatial arrangements within the cell. This makes it a truly unique technique and also explains why the method has such an enormous potential for cell biology. Cryo-ET can bridge the gap between light microscopy and near-atomic-resolution techniques like single-particle analysis.

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MicroED

MicroED is an exciting new technique with applications in the structural determination of small molecules and protein. With this method, atomic details can be extracted from individual nanocrystals (<200 nm in size), even in a heterogeneous mixture.

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Integrative Structural Biology

To understand protein function, you need complex and structure information beyond individual proteins. Integrative structural biology combines mass spectrometry and cryo EM for the determination of large dynamic complex structure.

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Single Particle Analysis

Single particle analysis (SPA) is a cryo electron microscopy technique that enables structural characterization at near-atomic resolutions, unraveling dynamic biological processes and the structure of biomolecular complexes/assemblies.

Learn more ›

Cryo-Tomography

Cryo electron tomography (cryo-ET) delivers both structural information about individual proteins as well as their spatial arrangements within the cell. This makes it a truly unique technique and also explains why the method has such an enormous potential for cell biology. Cryo-ET can bridge the gap between light microscopy and near-atomic-resolution techniques like single-particle analysis.

Learn more ›

MicroED

MicroED is an exciting new technique with applications in the structural determination of small molecules and protein. With this method, atomic details can be extracted from individual nanocrystals (<200 nm in size), even in a heterogeneous mixture.

Learn more ›

Integrative Structural Biology

To understand protein function, you need complex and structure information beyond individual proteins. Integrative structural biology combines mass spectrometry and cryo EM for the determination of large dynamic complex structure.

Learn more ›

Products

Style Sheet for Instrument Cards Original

Glacios Cryo-TEM for
Life Sciences

  • Cryo-TEM
  • Small Footprint
  • Flexible Accelerating Voltage 80-200 kV
  • High Brightness X-FEG Electron Gun

Krios G4 Cryo-TEM for
Life Sciences

  • Improved ergonomics
  • Fits more easily into new and existing labs
  • Maximized productivity and automation
  • Best image quality for high-resolution 3D reconstruction

Talos Arctica TEM for
Life Sciences

  • Increased data acquisition speed
  • High data with robotic sample handling & automated loading
  • Unattended platform operation and automated data acquisition
  • Low cost of ownership with remote diagnostics and preventive service

Talos L120C for
Life Sciences

  • Increased stability
  • Multiple auto-functions
  • Quick sample exchange with robust vacuum system
  • High-quality cryo-imaging

Aquilos 2 Cryo-FIB for Life Sciences

  • Automation enables production of multiple lamellas
  • Target and extract your structure of interest with lift-out nano-manipulator
  • 3D visualization for high-resolution tomography

Vitrobot System

  • Fully Automated Sample vitrification
  • Blotting Device
  • Semi-Automated Grid Transfer
  • High Sample Throughput

Amira Software for Life Sciences

  • Import and process image data
  • Auto-segmentation, object separation, labeling
  • Analyze and quantify with automated statistics
  • Create images, animations and videos

Auto Slice and View 4.0 Software

  • Serial sectioning for 3D STEM images
  • Imaging plus analytical data (EDS, EBSD)
  • On-the-fly editing capabilities
  • New algorithms – easier to use

EPU 2 Software

  • Microscope-embedded solution for single particle acquisition
  • Optimized for high-throughput particle collection
  • Compatible with film, CCD cameras, and direct electron detectors

Falcon 4 Detector

  • Leading detective quantum efficiency
  • 10x shorter exposure time than its predecessor
  • Fully embedded in Thermo Scientific software
  • Built in data management

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Electron microscopy services for
the life sciences

To ensure optimal system performance, we provide you access to a world-class network of field service experts, technical support, and certified spare parts.

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