Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

New Electron Microscopy Approaches for Studying Protein Complexes and Cellular Supramolecular Architecture

Final Report Summary - 3D-EM (New electron microscopy approaches for studying protein complexes and cellular supramolecular architecture)

The New electron microscopy approaches for studying protein complexes and cellular supramolecular architecture (3D-EM) project constituted one of the first Network of Excellence's (NoE's) projects which was launched in the European Commission (EC) in the Sixth Research Framework Programme (FP6). The 3D-EM project mainly focussed on the following three overarching goals:
- The attempt to bring together experts in the field of structural analysis in order to foster close collaboration in research;
- The establishment of a platform for various tools and software, the standardisation of methods and data formats as well as a joint data resource;
- The wide dissemination of state-of-the-art technology and best practice methods by means of an extensive training programme.

The scientific approaches covered by the 3D-EM project could be subsumed under the following NoE's areas:
- Single particle analysis (SPA) which pertains to the characterisation of protein structures lying on the analysis of thousands purified 'single particles'. SPA experts proceeded afterwards to the study of the pending issue of structural analysis of heterogeneous particle mixtures;
- Cryo-electron tomography (CET) Major European laboratories aimed to enhance the technology and software for tomographic applications. An outcome of significant importance stemming from these efforts constitutes the development of the software package Tomography (TOM) toolbox which is deployed for the interpretation of CET data;
- Two-dimensional electron crystallography which constitutes an alternative approach for the determination of structures, especially for the membrane protein structures. The Image processing library and toolbox (IPLT) is a software platform used for the analysis of images obtained by two-dimensional electron crystallography which has been already used in laboratories and is ready to launch.