Recent progress in structural biology: lessons from our research history.

Research paper by Ryo R Nitta, Tsuyoshi T Imasaki, Eriko E Nitta

Indexed on: 18 May '18Published on: 18 May '18Published in: Microscopy (Oxford, England)


The recent 'resolution revolution' in structural analyses of cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) has drastically changed the research strategy for structural biology. In addition to X-ray crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, cryo-EM has achieved the structural analysis of biological molecules at near-atomic resolution, resulting in the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017. The effect of this revolution has spread within the biology and medical science fields affecting everything from basic research to pharmaceutical development by visualizing atomic structure. As we have used cryo-EM as well as X-ray crystallography since 2000 to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of the fundamental phenomena in the cell, here we review our research history and summarize our findings. In the first half of the review, we describe the structural mechanisms of microtubule-based motility of molecular motor kinesin by using a joint cryo-EM and X-ray crystallography method. In the latter half, we summarize our structural studies on transcriptional regulation by X-ray crystallography of in vitro reconstitution of a multi-protein complex.