The new cryo-electron microscopy technology is an imaging technique which provides a 3D image of proteins. This one technology recently bagged a Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2017. Jacques Dubochet, Richard Henderson and Joachim Frank together worked on developing this new technology. This technology is capable of producing a three-dimensional image of the biological proteins like DNA, RNA and proteins.
This invention has been instrumental in understanding and decoding the cellular processes that were initially invisible. Many viruses like Zika virus can be understood by using such a technology. In the future, their work is said to wave a new path towards the treatment of diseases by the invention of new drugs.
A lot of Nobel Prizes have already been given to the scientists for developing technologies that could understand proteins and other molecules for deciphering the atomic structure of proteins. But a recent invention takes the cake. 2017 saw the latest development with the invention of a technique that can be used for capturing snapshots of structures that even X-rays can’t see.
Even though electron microscope had been there since ages, there haven’t been strong enough technologies that can decipher or decode the structure of proteins completely. In 1975, Henderson had managed to create a 3D picture of protein with the help of an electron microscope. However, the problem of using low energy radiation for looking at unorganised lesser molecules remained.
By 1986, algorithms were used for sorting the images for sharpening the 2D image for combining them in a 3D structure. But in 2017, the cryo-electron microscope has been invented by Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson. The new technology gives a finely detailed image of the complex processes and machinery inside the cell in the resolution of an atom.
Ever since this invention, the molecules of the proteins can be seen in full details with each intricate view in front. This invention enables the biomolecules in figuring out the functions. The structures of the proteins and viruses would enable the medical science to figure out a way of solving the problem.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The new technology is already making ripples in the field of science. Crystallography wasn’t sufficient enough for analysing the structure related defects. The cryo-EM technique is a revolutionary approach in the field of science which would enable medical science to understand medicine better.