About this Research Topic
Technical advances in cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) are revolutionizing structural biology, as samples that could previously only be studied by X-ray crystallography or nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) can now be structurally analyzed to comparable resolutions by cryo-EM. Two main EM branches have developed that span a broad range of specimen sizes: single particle cryo-EM and subtomogram average for high-resolution protein structures, and tomography for localization of complexes and organelles in cellular structures.
As the field is developing quickly, the scientific community that benefits from cryo-EM is also expanding. To face the high equipment costs and still satisfy the data requirements of the growing community, new facilities for data collection, which also offer skilled support, are continuously being opened or upgraded. Additionally, software packages for image processing are experiencing fast development with new and faster algorithms being developed for image analysis. EM centers are building up IT infrastructures to deal with the huge influx of microscopy data and to optimize their use.
To date, many reviews have been written about the “resolution-revolution” under which near-atomic structures are obtained on a regular basis by cryo-EM, and the main technological advances that have made this revolution possible. In turn, less information is available about its practical aspects, such as sample and grid optimization, facility organization for efficient data collection and sample storage, setups for storage and data processing, or special image processing tricks required for difficult cases. We therefore welcome our colleagues to submit original research papers, reviews, perspectives, methods, or technology reports with a specific “practical” cut, that will help enrich the existing EM community as well as newcomers.