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Volume 587 Issue 7832, 5 November 2020

Atoms in focus

In recent years, advances in cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) have enabled the technique to resolve biomolecules in excellent detail. But with typical resolutions limited at around 3 ångströms, cryo-EM still lags behind X-ray crystallography in understanding the finer elements. Two papers in this week’s issue change that, as they use single-particle cryo-EM to achieve structural analyses of proteins at atomic resolution. In one paper, Sjors Scheres, Radu Aricescu and their colleagues report structures of apoferritin (pictured on the cover) and the GABA-A receptor at around 1.22 Å and 1.7 Å, respectively, using a new electron source, energy filter and camera. In the other paper, Holger Stark and co-workers use a newly developed cryo-EM to produce a structure of apoferritin at a resolution of around 1.24 Å. Both approaches should help pave the way for the technique to be used more widely in structure-based drug design.

Cover image: Paul Emsley (copyright: MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology).

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    • Mark A. Herzik Jr
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Amendments & Corrections

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    Greater Bay Area

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