Cryo-electron tomography provides first view of a cell’s nucleus in its natural, undisturbed environment | February 29, 2016 Issue - Vol. 94 Issue 9 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 94 Issue 9 | p. 9 | News of The Week
Issue Date: February 29, 2016 | Web Date: February 25, 2016

Cryo-electron tomography provides first view of a cell’s nucleus in its natural, undisturbed environment

Technique shows that protein filaments make the nucleus the stiffest organelle around
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Analytical SCENE, Biological SCENE
Keywords: structural biology, nucleus, imaging, cryo-electron tomography
[+]Enlarge
Credit: Julia Mahamid
Image of a nucleus using cryo-electron tomography.
 
Credit: Julia Mahamid

Researchers have gotten a glimpse of the membrane surrounding an intact cell’s nucleus using cryo-electron tomography, revealing the technique’s unique ability to peer past a cell’s cluttered cytoplasm and focus in on its buried organelles. Other structural biology techniques, such as cryo-electron microscopy, cannot resolve cellular elements beyond an intact cell’s surface, explains Julia Mahamid of the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry, a member of the research team (Science 2016, DOI: 10.1126/science.aad8857). By capitalizing on recent innovations in cryo-transmission electron microscopy, detector sensitivity, and phase contrast enhancement, the team could visualize, for the first time, features on the nuclear membrane surface in their natural context, such as the nuclear pore complex—a revolving door for RNA, proteins, carbohydrates, and more—and previously unseen nuclear laminar filaments, which are just 2–4 nm in diameter. These protein filaments (shown in this computer-generated image) provide stiff structural support to the nucleus, Mahamid says, making it the least pliable organelle in the cell.

 
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © American Chemical Society
Comments
Nicolai Petelski (February 26, 2016 3:17 PM)
This is really astonishing for science. Congratulations!

Leave A Comment

*Required to comment