Zhang, Z.; Shigematsu, H.; Shimizu, T. & Ohto, U. Improving particle quality in cryo-EM analysis using a PEGylation method. Structure, 2021, 29, 1192-1199.e4
Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) is widely used for structural biology studies and has been developed extensively in recent years. However, its sample vitrification process is a major limitation because it causes severe particle aggregation and/or denaturation. This effect is thought to occur because particles tend to stick to the “deadly” air-water interface during vitrification. Here, we report a method for PEGylation of proteins that can efficiently protect particles against such problems during vitrification. This method alleviates the laborious process of fine-tuning the vitrification conditions, allowing for analysis of samples that would otherwise be discarded.