issue contents

Journal logoSTRUCTURAL
ISSN: 2059-7983

April 2020 issue

Highlighted illustration

Cover illustration: The structure of a potassium selective ion channel, an integral membrane protein [Coates (2020), Acta Cryst. D76, 326-331, part of the ISDSB2019 special issue]. An amino acid hydrophobicity surface covers the molecule, in which light blue is hydrophilic and pink is hydrophobic. Potassium ions within the selectivity filter of the ion channel are shown as shown as purple spheres. For clarity only two of four subunits are shown coloured red and blue.


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Crystallography in its broadest sense has a crucial role to play in addressing the current COVID-19 pandemic. An outpouring of structural information on key viral proteins has resulted and importantly these data have immediately been shared with researchers round the world to speed the discovery of effective therapeutic agents.

feature articles

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The setup and operation of an industrial cryo-EM laboratory is described.


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Key structural biology experiments that have sought to elucidate how potassium ions permeate and pass through the selectivity filter of potassium ion channels are reviewed.


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The concept of statistical signal detection by controlling the false-discovery rate (FDR) to aid the atomic model interpretation of cryo-EM density maps is reviewed. The recommended usage of the FDR software tool is presented together with its successful integration into the CCP-EM suite.

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Sample preparation within single-particle cryo-electron microscopy can still be a significant bottleneck, with issues in reproducibility, ice quality and sample loss. New approaches have recently been reported that use spraying or pin printing instead of the traditional blotting approach. Here, experience in the use of different nozzle designs and spraying regimes is reported together with their influence on the resulting spray and grid quality.

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This article presents an overview of the development of two basic software libraries for image manipulation and data visualization in cryo-EM: emcore and emvis.

research papers

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Solution structure of β-amylase 2 from Arabidopsis thaliana shows the role of the conserved N-terminus in enzyme tetramer formation.

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The crystal structure of the c-type cytochrome NirC from Pseudomonas aeruginosa has been determined and reveals the simultaneous presence of monomers and 3D domain-swapped dimers in the same asymmetric unit.

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A new scaling program is presented with new features to support multi-sweep workflows and analysis within the DIALS software package.
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