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Low-energy electron holographic imaging of individual tobacco mosaic virions


Longchamp, Jean-Nicolas; Latychevskaia, Tatiana; Escher, Conrad; Fink, Hans-Werner (2015). Low-energy electron holographic imaging of individual tobacco mosaic virions. Applied Physics Letters, 107(13):133101.

Abstract

Modern structural biology relies on Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), X-ray crystallography, and cryo-electron microscopy for gaining information on biomolecules at nanometer, sub-nanometer, or atomic resolution. All these methods, however, require averaging over a vast ensemble of entities, and hence knowledge on the conformational landscape of an individual particle is lost. Unfortunately, there are now strong indications that even X-ray free electron lasers will not be able to image individual molecules but will require nanocrystal samples. Here, we show that non-destructive structural biology of single particles has now become possible by means of low-energy electron holography. As an example, individual tobacco mosaic virions deposited on ultraclean freestanding graphene are imaged at 1 nm resolution revealing structural details arising from the helical arrangement of the outer protein shell of the virus. Since low-energy electron holography is a lens-less technique and since electrons with a deBroglie wavelength of approximately 1 Å do not impose radiation damage to biomolecules, the method has the potential for Angstrom resolution imaging of single biomolecules.

Abstract

Modern structural biology relies on Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), X-ray crystallography, and cryo-electron microscopy for gaining information on biomolecules at nanometer, sub-nanometer, or atomic resolution. All these methods, however, require averaging over a vast ensemble of entities, and hence knowledge on the conformational landscape of an individual particle is lost. Unfortunately, there are now strong indications that even X-ray free electron lasers will not be able to image individual molecules but will require nanocrystal samples. Here, we show that non-destructive structural biology of single particles has now become possible by means of low-energy electron holography. As an example, individual tobacco mosaic virions deposited on ultraclean freestanding graphene are imaged at 1 nm resolution revealing structural details arising from the helical arrangement of the outer protein shell of the virus. Since low-energy electron holography is a lens-less technique and since electrons with a deBroglie wavelength of approximately 1 Å do not impose radiation damage to biomolecules, the method has the potential for Angstrom resolution imaging of single biomolecules.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute
Dewey Decimal Classification:530 Physics
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:25 Jan 2016 15:17
Last Modified:01 Sep 2016 00:01
Publisher:American Institute of Physics
ISSN:0003-6951
Additional Information:Copyright (2015) AIP Publishing. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and AIP Publishing. The following article appeared in (Longchamp et al: Low-energy electron holographic imaging of individual tobacco mosaic virions, Appl. Phys. Lett. 107, 133101 (2015)) and may be found at (http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4931607).
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4931607

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