Direct imaging and computational cryo-electron microscopy of ribbons and nanotubes

Dganit Danino*, Edward H. Egelman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Ribbons, filaments (fibers) and nanotubes are common structures in biological systems. They form by lipids, peptides and proteins, and are associated with many fundamental processes such as shaping membrane curvature, cell signaling, and protein function and dysfunction. Identical morphologies formed by natural or synthetic building blocks find numerous applications, e.g., in regenerative medicine, medical therapeutics, templating, catalysis and energy storage devices. Although the scientific context and chemistry of the building blocks may vary considerably, the forces that drive their formation, the local interactions, the structure and the morphology are closely related. Cryo-EM methodologies (Cryo-TEM in the colloid science community) have proven powerful in resolving structure-function-property relations of these macromolecular assemblies. The present review contains two main sections highlighting the unique cryo-EM contribution to understanding the global and the local features of nano-fibers, ribbons and tubes, as well as their detailed high-resolution structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-113
Number of pages14
JournalCurrent Opinion in Colloid and Interface Science
StatePublished - Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Cryo-EM
  • Cryo-TEM
  • Helical reconstruction
  • Image processing
  • Ribbons and nanotubes


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