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Improving Resolution in Cryo-EM

Single particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) has made big advances in imaging biological molecules in recent years, earning Nature Methods’ Method of the Year title for 2015.

This image illustrates those advances, showing an early low resolution structure of the enzyme beta-galactosidase (blue, left) composited with a detailed, high resolution structure (middle right, gold), and finally a protein model (far right, dark orange). Complete protein models can only be created once a map reaches at least near-atomic resolution.

This image was created in collaboration with Doreen Matthies of the Subramaniam Lab, who graciously provided the low-resolution image of beta-galactosidase. It has been featured in several articles, including Science’s highlight of the published work.

The high resolution (2.2 Å) structure of beta-galactosidase was published by a team from the Subramaniam Lab in Science in May 2015.

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