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The Atlas of Bacterial & Archaeal Cell Structure: an Interactive Open-Access Microbiology Textbook

Oikonomou, Catherine M. and Jensen, Grant J. (2021) The Atlas of Bacterial & Archaeal Cell Structure: an Interactive Open-Access Microbiology Textbook. Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education, 22 (2). Art. No. e00128-21. ISSN 1935-7877. PMCID PMC8442016. doi:10.1128/jmbe.00128-21.

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Here, we describe a new open-access digital textbook for microbiology, The Atlas of Bacterial & Archaeal Cell Structure (available at The book addresses a fundamental gap in existing textbooks, namely, what bacterial and archaeal cells look like and how the macromolecular structures they contain give rise to their diverse and complex functions. The interactive, multimedia resource features real data from more than 150 cells belonging to approximately 70 different species, imaged by cutting-edge cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM). Complementary animations show the cellular machinery in action. Only a basic familiarity with fundamental biology concepts is required to understand the material, which targets a wide range of students in courses from general biology for nonmajors to specialized graduate-level microbiology. The content can be digested in several hours, making it well suited to be assigned as a supplemental resource for a course covering either more diverse topics in cell biology or a more specialized topic such as medical microbiology. By making this resource freely available online, we hope it will serve students in diverse educational settings, including self-directed learners.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle ItemThe Atlas of Bacterial & Archaeal Cell Structure
Oikonomou, Catherine M.0000-0003-2312-4746
Jensen, Grant J.0000-0003-1556-4864
Additional Information:© 2021 Oikonomou and Jensen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license. Received: 12 January 2021, Accepted: 22 July 2021, Published: 31 August 2021. This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (grant R01 AI127401 to G.J.J.). Imaging data shown in the described textbook were acquired in the course of research projects conducted in the Jensen laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. Major funding for those projects came from the NIH, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the Beckman Institute, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Agouron Institute, and the John Templeton Foundation. Cryo-EM was performed in the Beckman Institute Resource Center for Transmission Electron Microscopy at the California Institute of Technology and the HHMI Janelia Farm CryoEM Facility.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NIHR01 AI127401
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)UNSPECIFIED
Caltech Beckman InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Agouron InstituteUNSPECIFIED
John Templeton FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:bacteria, archaea, cryo-EM, cryo-electron tomography, microbiology, educational resource, open access, online, textbook
Issue or Number:2
PubMed Central ID:PMC8442016
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20211122-231810071
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Oikonomou CM, Jensen GJ. 2021. The Atlas of Bacterial & Archaeal Cell Structure: an interactive open-access microbiology textbook. J Microbiol Biol Educ 22:e00128-21.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:111990
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:23 Nov 2021 17:13
Last Modified:23 Nov 2021 17:13

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