Cryo-Electron Microscopy (Cryo-EM) is a form of transmission electron microscopy in which a beam of electrons is transmitted through a frozen-hydrated sample, and is used to study the molecular structure of biological samples. In this lecture, Dr. Yifan Cheng overviews the principles of Cryo-EM, and describes how advances in this technique have allowed scientists to solve biological structures to atomic resolution.
In his second lecture, Cheng shows how his laboratory has used Cryo-EM to study the atomic resolution of membrane proteins. It is challenging to use conventional methods to study membrane protein structure, given that the 3D structure of most membrane proteins is dependent on their interaction with the phospholipid bilayer. Cheng describes how his laboratory has overcome these challenges to successfully solve the protein structure of the TRPV1 ion channel in different conformations at atomic resolution. He describes the benefits of using of amphipols, lipid nanodiscs, and Fab-assisted approaches to facilitate structural studies.
Dr. Yifan Cheng is a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Cheng obtained his bachelor’s degree in Physics at Wuhan University in 1982, and completed his doctoral degree in Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1991. In 2006, he joined… Continue Reading