As scientists, we would like to understand how a molecule works at atomic level and obtaining a structure is ultimate goal in this process. Electron microscopy has the power to obtain atomic resolution structure of macromolecules and in recent times, the advances in the hardware of electron microscopes, detectors and softwares has made the technique very powerful and many macromolecular structures, which previously were difficult to study structurally can now be studied. In electron cryomicroscopy, macromolecules in solution are frozen rapidly and then imaged with electrons. The images, which are projections of the molecule of interest are then averaged and reconstructed to obtain a high-resolution map. As the molecules are frozen from a solution the possibility to get multiple conformational or structural states is an added advantge with cryoEM.
From theoretical estimate, it is clear that averaging few thousand asymmetric units is sufficient to obtain 2.5-3.5 Å map and this is true for various molecular sizes of protein. Although, molecules as small as 14 kDa can be observed by cryoEM these do not have enough information for high-resolution reconstruction with current technology. Protein molecules such as heamoglogin (64 kDa) has been determined to high-resolution by cryoEM and the lower limit of the size will keep decreasing.
Though it is called a facility, our aim is to train people and not to act as a service. This, we believe is essential for the promotion of cryoEM in India and please look out for workshops in the events page.
This national facility is funded by the Department of BioTechnology and is part of the Bangalore Life Sciences Cluster, which includes NCBS, InStem and C-CAMP.
Bangalore Life Sciences Cluster (BLiSc)