From Berkeley Lab: “Under the Electron Microscope – A 3-D Image of an Individual Protein”

Berkeley Lab

The high resolution of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Gang Ren

Sabin Russell
JANUARY 24, 2012

“When Gang Ren whirls the controls of his cryo-electron microscope, he compares it to fine-tuning the gearshift and brakes of a racing bicycle. But this machine at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is a bit more complex. It costs nearly $1.5 million, operates at the frigid temperature of liquid nitrogen, and it is allowing scientists to see what no one has seen before.

At the Molecular Foundry, Berkeley Lab’s acclaimed nanotechnology research center, Ren has pushed his Zeiss Libra 120 Cryo-Tem microscope to resolutions never envisioned by its German manufacturers, producing detailed snapshots of individual molecules. Today, he and his colleague Lei Zhang are reporting the first 3-D images of an individual protein ever obtained with enough clarity to determine its structure.”

3-D images from a single particle (A) a series of images of an ApoA-1 protein particle, taken from different angles as indicated. A succession of four computer enhancements (projections) clarifies the signal. In the right column is the 3-D image compiled from the clarified data. B) is a close-up of the reconstructed 3-D image. C) Analysis shows how the particle structure is formed by three ApoA-1 proteins (red, green, blue noodle-like models)

Staff scientist Gang Ren (standing) and is postdoc colleague Lei Zhang can checking images of individual proteins from their cryo-electron microscope at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry.

See the full article here.

A US Department of Energy National Laboratory Operated by the University of California