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In microbiology, and in particular in virus research, electron microscopy (EM) is an important tool, offering a broad approach for investigating viral structure throughout their intracellular and extracellular life cycles. Currently, molecular tools and rapid developments in advanced light microscopy dominate the field and supply an enormous amount of information concerning virus biology. In recent years, numerous fascinating high-resolution EM structures obtained by single-particle electron cryo microscopy (cryo-EM) were revealed for viral particles that possess icosahedral symmetry. However, no comprehensive three-dimensional analysis of complex viruses or viruses within cells has yet been achieved using EM. Recent developments in electron cryo-tomography render this a proficient tool for the analysis of complex viruses and viruses within cells in greater detail.

Original publication




Journal article


Curr Opin Microbiol

Publication Date





437 - 442


Animals, Cryoelectron Microscopy, HIV, Herpesvirus 1, Human, Humans, Tomography, Vaccinia virus, Virion, Viruses