Electron Cryo-Tomography

Part of the Biological and Medical Physics, Biomedical Engineering book series (BIOMEDICAL)


Electron cryo-tomography is an integrative imaging technique that produces high-resolution 3-D images of cells and purified complexes. These images can uniquely provide mechanistic insights into in situ biology at molecular and cellular scales. To produce these images, specimens are preserved by flash-freezing without stains or fixatives; these flash-frozen specimens are imaged over a range of angles in an electron microscope and this data used to reconstruct 3-D images of the specimen in near-native state to ‘macromolecular’ resolution. In this introductory chapter we take the perspective of the workflow of a cryo-tomography project to outline the technique, and important underlying concepts.


Electron cryo-microscopy Tomography Biological 



The authors would like to thank Bonnie Chaban, Peter Rosenthal, and Louie Henderson for insightful comments. This work has been supported by BBSRC grant BB/L023091/1 to MB.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Life SciencesImperial College LondonLondonUK

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