He, J.; Hsieh, C.; Wu, Y.; Schmelzer, T.; Wang, P.; Lin, Y.; Marko, M. & Sui, H. Cryo-FIB specimen preparation for use in a cartridge-type cryo-TEM. Journal of structural biology, 2017
Cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) is a well-established technique for studying 3D structural details of subcellular macromolecular complexes and organelles in their nearly native context in the cell. A primary limitation of the application of cryo-ET is the accessible specimen thickness, which is less than the diameters of almost all eukaryotic cells. It has been shown that focused ion beam (FIB) milling can be used to prepare thin, distortion-free lamellae of frozen biological material for high-resolution cryo-ET. Commercial cryosystems are available for cryo-FIB specimen preparation, however re-engineering and additional fixtures are often essential for reliable results with a particular cryo-FIB and cryotransmission electron microscope (cryo-TEM). Here, we describe our optimized protocol and modified instrumentation for cryo-FIB milling to produce thin lamellae and subsequent damage-free cryotransfer of the lamellae into our cartridge-type cryo-TEM.