Weis, F.; Hagen, W. J. H. Combining high throughput and high quality for cryo-electron microscopy data collection. Acta crystallographica. Section D, Structural biology, 2020, 76, 724-728
Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) can be used to elucidate the 3D structure of macromolecular complexes. Driven by technological breakthroughs in electron-microscope and electron-detector development, coupled with improved image-processing procedures, it is now possible to reach high resolution both in single-particle analysis and in cryo-electron tomography and subtomogram-averaging approaches. As a consequence, the way in which cryo-EM data are collected has changed and new challenges have arisen in terms of microscope alignment, aberration correction and imaging parameters. This review describes how high-end data collection is performed at the EMBL Heidelberg cryo-EM platform, presenting recent microscope implementations that allow an increase in throughput while maintaining aberration-free imaging and the optimization of acquisition parameters to collect high-resolution data.