Zampighi GA, Zampighi L, Fain N, Wright EM, Cantele F, Lanzavecchia S. Conical tomography II: A method for the study of cellular organelles in thin sections. J Struct Biol. 2005 Sep;151(3):263-74.
We have used conical electron tomography in order to reconstruct neuronal organelles in thin sections of plastic embedded rat somato-sensory cortical tissue. The conical tilt series were collected at a 55 degrees tilt and at 5 degrees rotations, aligned using gold particles as fiduciary markers, and reconstructed using the weighted back projection algorithm. After a refinement process based on projection matching, the 3D maps showed the "unit membrane pattern" along the entire reconstructed volume. This pattern is indicative of the bilayer arrangement of phospholipids in biological membranes. Based on Fourier correlation methods as well as the visualization of the "unit membrane" pattern, we estimated resolutions of approximately 4 nm. To illustrate the prospective advantages of conical tomography, we segmented "coated" vesicles in the reconstructed volumes. These vesicles were comprised of a central core enclosing a small lumen, and a protein "coating" extending into the cytoplasm. The "coated" vesicle was attached to the plasma membrane through a complex structure shaped as an arch where the ends are attached to the membrane and the crook is connected to the vesicle. We concluded that conical electron tomography of thin-sectioned specimens provides a powerful experimental approach for studying thin-sectioned neuronal organelles at resolution levels of approximately 4 nm.
Collection geometry, conical tomography, missing cone