20210726 Chang YC paper photo

Preparation of High-Temperature Sample Grids for Cryo-EM

Preparation of High-Temperature Sample Grids for Cryo-EM

Jove - Journal of Visualized Experiments. 2021 Jul 26; 173, e62772.
doi: 10.3791/62772


Chang YC, Chen CY, Tsai MD*


The sample grids for cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) experiments are usually prepared at a temperature optimal for the storage of biological samples, mostly at 4 °C and occasionally at room temperature. Recently, we discovered that the protein structure solved at low temperature may not be functionally relevant, particularly for proteins from thermophilic archaea. A procedure was developed to prepare protein samples at higher temperatures (up to 70 °C) for cryo-EM analysis. We showed that the structures from samples prepared at higher temperatures are functionally relevant and temperature dependent. Here we describe a detailed protocol for preparing sample grids at high temperature, using 55 °C as an example. The experiment made use of a vitrification apparatus modified using an additional centrifuge tube, and samples were incubated at 55 °C. The detailed procedures were fine-tuned to minimize vapor condensation and obtain a thin layer of ice on the grid. Examples of successful and unsuccessful experiments are provided.