Approaches for exploration of biological structures with modern 3D microscopy techniques are expanding rapidly. These technological advances include not only the imaging of structures, but also the computational reconstruction methods for calculating three-dimensional structures. The computational techniques used to investigate the three-dimensional structure of macromolecular complexes, organelles or cells include crystallographic reconstruction, helical reconstruction, icosahedral reconstruction, single particle reconstruction, electron tomography and serial section reconstruction. These techniques have particularly useful in determining structures which are too small for light microscopy or too large for NMR or X-Ray structure determination or structures for which crystals are not available or order in the crystals is limited.
Advances in microscopes and associated computational capabilities have been substantial over the last few years. In this session, presentations will examine technical aspects and methods for three-dimensional reconstruction of biological structures from images acquired by electron microscopy and analyzed using the computational reconstruction techniques listed above.