Proteins may be the most important and varied biomolecules within living systems. These strings of amino acids, assuming complex three-dimensional forms, are essential for the growth and maintenance of tissue, the initiation of thousands of biochemical reactions, and protecting the body from pathogens through the immune system. They play a central role in health and disease, and they are primary targets for pharmaceutical drugs.
To fully understand proteins and their myriad functions, researchers have developed sophisticated means to see and study them through advanced microscopy, improving light detection, imaging software and the integration of advanced hardware systems.
In a new study, corresponding author Shaopeng Wang and his colleagues at Arizona State University describe a new technique that promises to revolutionize the imaging of proteins and other vital biomolecules, allowing these tiny entities to be visualized with unprecedented clarity and by simpler means than existing methods.