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Cryo-Electron Microscopy (Cryo-EM) is nowadays a suitable and attractive alternative to X-ray crystallography to determine the structure of protein complexes which are not able to crystallize. Indeed, structures of large macromolecular complexes have been determined at near-atomic resolution with modern high-end instruments. Under this project, we have established collaborations with three research Centres in Europe, with proven track record and expertise in the different aspects and applications of Cryo-EM: the National Centre for Biotechnology of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC-CNB) (Spain), the Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Helsinki (Finland) and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot (Israel). 

The main goal of this project, will be knowledge transfer in Cryo-EM methodologies from the partners to ITQB NOVA researchers, allowing them to acquire expertise in sample preparation, image acquisition to high resolution and data processing both for Single Particle Analysis and Cryo-Tomography. 

 

Meet our project


Proteins are building blocks of life, and they often form complexes with essential roles in the cell. The structure and regulation of protein complexes allows for robust molecular homeostatic mechanisms. Thus, access and expertise to modern methodologies in structural biology is essential for the study of life itself. The extraordinary advances in instrumentation, sample preparation and image processing methods developed in recent years have brought the potential of direct imaging of individual molecules using Cryo-Electron Microscopy (Cryo-EM). With modern high-end instruments, structures of large macromolecular complexes can be determined at near-atomic resolution. In addition, an unprecedented level of detail in cell imaging can be obtained using cell tomography applications. 

In order to bring the knowledge on CryoEM at ITQB NOVA, we have established collaborations with three research Centres in Europe, with proven track record and expertise in the different aspects and applications of Cryo-EM:  – Spanish National Research Council - National Centre for Biotechnology (CSIC, Spain), University of Helsinki - Institute of Biotechnology (UH, Finland) and Weizmann Institute of Science (WEIZMANN, Israel). All of these are well-equipped with Cryo-EM instruments and have highly-trained technical staff to assist in its efficient use.

Through IMpaCT, several activities are planned, in which the collaborations will take the form of a network of close interactions between researchers from UNL- ITQB NOVA, CSIC, UH and WEIZMANN. The ultimately goal will be the knowledge transfer in Cryo-EM methodologies from the partners to UNL- ITQB NOVA researchers, allowing them to acquire expertise in sample preparation, image acquisition to high resolution and data processing. Thus, IMpaCT will be a fundamental instrument to develop the applications of Cryo-EM to life sciences research at UNL-ITQB NOVA.


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Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 857203.

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