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Towards an integrative structural biology approach: combining Cryo-TEM, X-ray crystallography, and NMR

Cryo-transmission electron microscopy (CryoTEM) and particularly single particle analysis is rapidly becoming the premier method for determining the three dimensional structure of protein complexes, and viruses. In the last several years there have been dramatic technological improvements in Cryo-TEM, such as advancements in automation and use of improved detectors, as well as improved image processing techniques. While Cryo-TEM was once thought of as a low resolution structural technique, the method is currently capable of generating nearly atomic resolution structures on a routine basis. Moreover, the combination of Cryo-TEM and other methods such as X-ray crystallography, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and molecular dynamics modeling are allowing researchers to address scientific questions previously thought intractable. Future technological developments are widely believed to further enhance the method and it is not inconceivable that Cryo-TEM could become as routine as X-ray crystallography for protein structure determination.

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