For decades, says Bridget Carragher, cryo-EM was a "niche, hole-in-the-wall" field. But in 2017, cryo-EM passed nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy for number of annual entries in the Protein Data Bank (PDB), the world's sole repository for 3D structural data on proteins, nucleic acids, and large biological molecules. And now it's gaining on the granddaddy of structural methods, X-ray crystallography.
This Science Technology Feature article describes the up and coming use of cryo-EM for structural biologists, medicinal chemists, and anyone with a protein that will not crystallize, and how companies like NanoImaging Services are making cryo-EM accessible to biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies of all sizes.
Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) yields atomic-level structures of proteins and nanoparticles. NanoImaging Services is a cryo-EM CRO.