Single-particle electron microscopy (EM) can provide structural information for a large variety of biological molecules, ranging from small proteins to large macromolecular assemblies, without the need to produce crystals. The year 2008 has become a landmark year for single-particle EM as for the first time density maps have been produced at a resolution that made it possible to trace protein backbones or even to build atomic models. In this review, we highlight some of the recent successes achieved by single-particle EM and describe the individual steps involved in producing a density map by this technique. We also discuss some of the remaining challenges and areas, in which further advances would have a great impact on the results that can be achieved by single-particle EM.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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