Kudryashev, M.; Castaño-Díez, D. & Stahlberg, H. Limiting factors in single particle cryo electron tomography. Comput Struct Biotechnol J, 2012, 1, e201207002
Modern methods of cryo electron microscopy and tomography allow visualization of protein nanomachines in their native state at the nanometer scale. Image processing methods including sub-volume averaging applied to repeating macromolecular elements within tomograms allow exploring their structures within the native context of the cell, avoiding the need for protein isolation and purification. Today, many different data acquisition protocols and software solutions are available to researchers to determine average structures of macromolecular complexes and potentially to classify structural intermediates. Here, we list the density maps reported in the literature, and analyze each structure for the chosen instrumental settings, sample conditions, main processing steps, and obtained resolution. We present conclusions that identify factors currently limiting the resolution gained by this approach.