Keywords: single-particle analysis, electron tomography, cryo-electron microscopy, proteomics, nanobiology, nanotechnology, transmission electron microscopy, automatic data collection, atomic resolution structures, protein molecules, cellular structures, light microscopy
Single-particle analysis and electron tomography
Both single-particle analysis and electron tomography are special tools for the structural analysis of biological components by transmission electron microscopy. Single-particle analysis enables us to determine the structures of relatively large proteins and macromolecular complexes without crystallisation. Electron tomography is often used to visualise organelles and subcellular structures at molecular resolution. Recently, the scope of electron tomography has been widened due to the introduction of an automatic data collection system, cryo-electron microscopy, and improved sample preparation techniques. Application of electron tomography to single-particle analysis will be capable of analysing dynamics of large proteins. The techniques described in this review are expected to bridge the gap between the atomic resolution structures of protein molecules and cellular structures obtained by light microscopy.