Progress in electron microscopy structure

The recent technological advancement in electron detectors have greatly up the game for EMers (not sure if this is what they call themselves) in their pursuit for higher resolution structure. It is such a great pleasure for me attend the Platform talk featuring Electron Microscopy and solution Scattering. Ranging from studying the stabilization of HIV-capsid to use EM to visualize larger biological samples, EM definitely provide a robust tool for structural visualization with good phase contrast. One talk that I found particular interesting is from Doreen Matthies from the High Resolution EM lab at the National Cancer Institute. Her talk was focused on the missing electron density for mainly negatively charged Glu/Asp in the EM density maps, which she believes is due to a higher level radiation damaged experienced by those negative charged groups. As we all hope the electron dipoles functions as an elastic body and only scatters the energy away, there are always possible electron-chemical changes of the protein after multiple exposures. I guess the lesson is when shooting electron/X-ray beam over your sample, do not burn your sample out in the meantime.

All that said, EM has proven to be fast growing field in the past few years, I am quite looking forward to the Symposium Talk on Wednesday and all the poster sessions on the same topic in the coming two days.


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