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Cryo-electron Tomography for Cell Biology

In this tutorial, you will find:

  • The complete workflow for in situ cryo-electron tomography
  • How subtomogram averaging within the cell yields native-state structures of macromolecular complexes (e.g., the asymmetric and dilated nuclear pore of algae)
  • How mapping these structures back into the native cellular environment reveals new molecular interactions that are only accessible by this technique (e.g., the binding of cargo to COPI-coated Golgi membranes and the tethering of proteasomes to the nuclear pore).


Ben Engel

Dr. Ben Engel

Tutorial abstract

Cryo-electron tomography can visualize macromolecular structures in situ, inside the cell.  Vitreous frozen cells are first thinned with a focused ion beam and then imaged in three dimensions using a transmission electron microscope.  This transformative method has the power to revolutionize our understanding of cell biology, revealing native cellular architecture with molecular clarity.

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