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How electron cryotomography is opening a new window onto prokaryotic ultrastructure

Jensen, Grant J. and Briegel, Ariane (2007) How electron cryotomography is opening a new window onto prokaryotic ultrastructure. Current Opinion in Structural Biology, 17 (2). pp. 260-267. ISSN 0959-440X. doi:10.1016/

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Electron cryotomography is an emerging technology that enables thin samples, including small intact prokaryotic cells, to be imaged in three dimensions in a near-native ‘frozen-hydrated’ state to a resolution sufficient to recognize very large macromolecular complexes in situ. Following years of visionary technology development by a few key pioneers, several laboratories are now using the technique to produce biological results of major significance in the field of prokaryotic ultrastructure. Recent discoveries have included the surprising generality and complexity of the cytoskeleton, the connectivity of key membrane compartments, the location and architecture of large macromolecular machines such as the ribosome and flagellar motors, and the structure of some extraordinary external appendages. Through further technology development, identification of the most revealing model systems and sustained effort, electron cryotomography is poised to help resolve many fundamentally important questions about prokaryotic ultrastructure.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Jensen, Grant J.0000-0003-1556-4864
Briegel, Ariane0000-0003-3733-3725
Additional Information:Copyright © 2006 Elsevier. Available online 29th March 2007. We wish to thank Gavin Murphy for Figure 4 and D Prabha Dias for critiquing the manuscript. This work was supported in part by National Institutes of Health grants P01 GM66521 and R01 AI067548 to GJJ, Department of the Environment grant DE-FG02-04ER63785 to GJJ, a Searle Scholar Award to GJJ, the Gosney fellowship to AB, and gifts to Caltech from the Ralph M Parsons Foundation, the Agouron Institute, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. This review comes from a themed issue on Macromolecular assemblages; Edited by Eva Nogales and Wesley I Sundquist.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NIHPO1 GM66521
NIHR01 AI067548
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-FG02-04ER63785
Searle Scholars ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Gosney Postdoctoral FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Ralph M. Parsons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Agouron InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110803-144316990
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Official Citation:Grant J Jensen, Ariane Briegel, How electron cryotomography is opening a new window onto prokaryotic ultrastructure, Current Opinion in Structural Biology, Volume 17, Issue 2, Theory and simulation / Macromolecular assemblages, April 2007, Pages 260-267, ISSN 0959-440X, DOI: 10.1016/ (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:24665
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:03 Aug 2011 21:59
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 16:25

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