Mishyna, M.; Volokh, O.; Danilova, Y.; Gerasimova, N.; Pechnikova, E. & Sokolova, O. S. Effects of radiation damage in studies of protein-DNA complexes by cryo-EM. Micron, 2017, 96, 57-64
Nucleic acids are responsible for the storage, transfer and realization of genetic information in the cell, which provides correct development and functioning of organisms. DNA interaction with ligands ensures the safety of this information. Over the past 10 years, advances in electron microscopy and image processing allowed to obtain the structures of key DNA-protein complexes with resolution below 4Å. However, radiation damage is a limiting factor to the potentially attainable resolution in cryo-EM. The prospect and limitations of studying protein-DNA complex interactions using cryo-electron microscopy are discussed here. We reviewed the ways to minimize radiation damage in biological specimens and the possibilities of using radiation damage (so-called 'bubblegrams') to obtain additional structural information.