News FocusStructural Biology

Challenge From Electron Microscopy

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Science  24 Sep 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5436, pp. 2050
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5436.2050

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For 2 decades, researchers have been pushing the limits of an imaging technology called cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) in order to see the ribosome--the cell's protein factory--in all its molecular detail. And 4 years ago, when two teams published structures resolved to about 25 angstroms, it seemed they might succeed ahead of the crystallographers. Now, crystallographers have taken the lead, but for understanding the dynamic nature of this molecular complex, cryo-EM is still very much in the running.