The complementarity of serial femtosecond crystallography and MicroED for structure determination from microcrystals

Nadia Zatsepin, Chufeng Li, Paige Colasurd, Brent L. Nannenga

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

3 Scopus citations


In recent years, nano and microcrystals have emerged as a valuable source of high-resolution structural information owing to the invention of serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) with X-ray free electron lasers and microcrystal electron diffraction (MicroED) using electron cryomicroscopes. Once considered useless for structure determination, nano/microcrystals now confer significant advantages for static and time-resolved structure determination from a wide variety of difficult-to-study targets. MicroED has been used to obtain sub-Ångstrom resolution maps in which hydrogen atoms can be clearly resolved from only a few nano/microcrystals, while SFX has been used to probe protein dynamics following reaction initiation on time scales from femtoseconds to minutes. We review these two complementary techniques and their abilities for high-resolution structure determination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCurrent Opinion in Structural Biology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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