Bäuerlein FJB, Baumeister W
Journal of Molecular Biology
J Mol Biol. 2021 Aug 9:167187.
Traditionally, structural biologists approach the complexity of cellular proteomes in a reductionist manner. Proteomes are fractionated, their molecular components purified and studied one-by-one using the experimental
methods for structure determination at their disposal. Visual proteomics aims at obtaining a holistic picture of cellular proteomes by studying them in situ, ideally in unperturbed cellular environments. The method that enables doing this at highest resolution is cryo-electron tomography. It allows to visualize cellular landscapes with molecular resolution generating maps or atlases revealing the interaction networks which underlie cellular functions in health and in disease states. Current implementations of cryo ET do not yet realize the full potential of the method in terms of resolution and interpretability. To this end, further improvements in technology and methodology are needed. This review describes the state of the art as well as measures which we expect will help overcoming current limitations.