Structural nanotechnology: Three-dimensional cryo-EM and its use in the development of nanoplatforms for: In vitro catalysis

Mark V. De Ruiter, Robin Klem, Daniel Luque, Jeroen J.L.M. Cornelissen*, José R. Castón

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


The organization of enzymes into different subcellular compartments is essential for correct cell function. Protein-based cages are a relatively recently discovered subclass of structurally dynamic cellular compartments that can be mimicked in the laboratory to encapsulate enzymes. These synthetic structures can then be used to improve our understanding of natural protein-based cages, or as nanoreactors in industrial catalysis, metabolic engineering, and medicine. Since the function of natural protein-based cages is related to their three-dimensional structure, it is important to determine this at the highest possible resolution if viable nanoreactors are to be engineered. Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) is ideal for undertaking such analyses within a feasible time frame and at near-native conditions. This review describes how three-dimensional cryo-EM is used in this field and discusses its advantages. An overview is also given of the nanoreactors produced so far, their structure, function, and applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4130-4146
Number of pages17
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2019


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