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Issue 1, 2011
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Cryo-electron tomography: 3-dimensional imaging of soft matter

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The advent of cryogenic-transmission electron microscopy (cryoTEM) signified a breakthrough in the in situ imaging of hydrated specimens of biological and synthetic origin allowing their study in a state of preservation that is close to native. An inherent limitation to cryoTEM, however, is that images are 2-dimensional projections of the 3-dimensional objects, resulting in the overlapping of multiple features that cannot be discerned. Cryo-electron tomography (cryoET) is essential to overcome this limitation. In this technique images of the specimen are acquired at different tilt angles and then reconstructed into the 3-dimensional object, revealing detailed information on the structure, morphology or 3-dimensional spatial organization of (bio)macromolecules and (macro)molecular assemblies. This information then can be coupled to processes happening in the 3-dimensional space, making cryoET an invaluable tool to bridge between the structural organization in space and the function or activity of macromolecular complexes at the nanometre scale.

Graphical abstract: Cryo-electron tomography: 3-dimensional imaging of soft matter

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Publication details

The article was received on 27 May 2010, accepted on 13 Jul 2010 and first published on 13 Aug 2010

Article type: Highlight
DOI: 10.1039/C0SM00441C
Citation: Soft Matter, 2011,7, 17-24
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    Cryo-electron tomography: 3-dimensional imaging of soft matter

    F. Nudelman, G. de With and N. A. J. M. Sommerdijk, Soft Matter, 2011, 7, 17
    DOI: 10.1039/C0SM00441C

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