INSTRUCT

INSTRUCT - an Integrated Structural Biology Infrastructure for Europe

Structural biology is a branch of molecular biology concerned with the molecular structure of biological macromolecules such as proteins and viruses. Resolving a molecule’s structure can give us insights into the function of a molecule and eventually lead to potential drug targets. Structural biologists use many different techniques (Figure 1) including X-ray crystallography, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, electron microscopy (EM), light microscopy and a range of other imaging techniques. Whereas these disciplines have traditionally been tackled as single entities, this is no longer sufficient to gain a detailed and quantitative understanding of the dynamic structure and biological context of the cell. Each technique resolves structures at different resolutions, and over the past few years, scientists have recognized the need and advantage of collaborating on projects, integrating several different techniques to resolve a single biological problem in all its complexities.

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