Potassium channels are ubiquitous ion channel proteins which play a crucial role in a broad spectrum of important cell functions. KcsA is a potassium channel found in the bacterium, Streptomyces lividan, and is believed to have only two transmembrane helices.
The KcsA protein has been cloned, overexpressed and purified to homogeneity, and reconstituted with phospholipids to form two-dimensional (2-D) crystals. Crystal samples were embedded in trehalose and examined in a cryo-holder (-170 °C) using a JEOL 4000EX electron microscope operated at 400kV in low dose mode. Images were recorded in spot scan-mode at a magnification of 60,000X, then digitized on a Perkin Elmer PDS flat bed microdensitometer and processed by using the MRC program suite. Processed images were brought to a common phase origin, and the amplitudes and phases from individual images were vectorially combined.