“Single particle cryo-electron microscopy, a quantum leap in structural biology”

The development of direct electron detectors, coupled to cryo-vitrification methods and developments of computational approaches, brought to the explosion of the “structural revolution” just a few years ago. Based on the above developments it is now possible to solve the 3D structure of macromolecular aggregates, protein:protein and protein:nucleic acid complexes in an almost direct approach, often reaching near atomic resolution. A real explosion of new structures and studies on macromolecular complexes is currently witnessed throughout the literature. In particular, it must be noted that specific macromolecular samples that could not be faced by previous techniques (e.g amyloid fibrils) are now within reach, shedding first light and entirely new studies on crucial research lines. I will present an overview of the single particle cryoEM method, explaining the basic principles behind, on one hand, and the practical lab aspects involved in sample/grid preparation, on the other. Following the theoretical aspects, I will briefly present the results of three research lines from our lab, focusing on the experimental approaches followed and on the biological implications of the results achieved.

19/03/2021 Martino Bolognesi (Dipartimento di Bioscienze e Centro di Ricerca Pediatrica Invernizzi Università di Milano)

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