Dr. José R. Castón
Department of Structure of Macromolecules. CNB-CSIC
Cryo-electron microscopy at atomic resolution of viral macromolecular machines
Our studies address to elucidate structure-function-assembly-evolution relationships of viral macromolecular complexes, also known as viral nanomachines, which control many fundamental processes in virus life cycle. Our model systems of viral molecular machines are the viral capsid and other viral macromolecular complexes, such as helical tubular structures and ribonucleoprotein complexes.
Structural analysis of these assemblies at the highest achievable resolution is therefore essential to understand their properties. To reveal the three-dimensional structure of such complex assemblies under close-to-native conditions we use cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and image processing techniques combined with high-resolution X-ray structures (the hybrid approach). Recent advances have allowed us to yield atomic models from cryo-EM two-dimensional images.