Electron tomography of viruses

Sriram Subramaniam*, Alberto Bartesaghi, Jun Liu, Adam E. Bennett, Rachid Sougrat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Understanding the molecular architectures of enveloped and complex viruses is a challenging frontier in structural biology. In these viruses, the structural and compositional variation from one viral particle to another generally precludes the use of either crystallization or image averaging procedures that have been successfully implemented in the past for highly symmetric viruses. While advances in cryo electron tomography of unstained specimens provide new opportunities for identification and molecular averaging of individual subcomponents such as the surface glycoprotein spikes on purified viruses, electron tomography of stained and plunge-frozen cells is being used to visualize the cellular context of viral entry and replication. Here, we review recent developments in both areas as they relate to our understanding of the biology of heterogeneous and pleiomorphic viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)596-602
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Structural Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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