Forum 09/18/2008

“Structural Biology Research Combining Crystallography and Electron Microscopy”

Fei Sun, Ph.D. – The Laboratory of Biological Electron Microscopy and Structural Biology The Institute of Biophysics Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing 100101, China

Structural biology has become the most powerful methodology to understand our life at the molecular level. X-ray crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy (cryoEM) and NMR spectroscopy are three major techniques used to resolve the 3D structure of macromolecules with high resolution. Combining crystallography and cryoEM is becoming popular in most structural biology research laboratories. In this talk, I will present my structural study on the SARS-CoV replicases super-complex. This complex comprises 16 subunits belonging to 2 different replicases. It was solved by crystallography and its assembly structure was further confirmed by negative-stain reconstruction and chemical cross-linking.
Mutagenesis studies implied that its biological function is the processing factor. In conclusion, I will give a brief introduction about the scientific strategy and focus in my current lab and show a preliminary result using electron tomography for the study of the caveolae of epithelia cell.