3D visualization of HIV virions by cryoelectron tomography

Publication Date



Methods in Enzymology


The structure of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and some of its components have been difficult to study in three-dimensions (3D) primarily because of their intrinsic structural variability. Recent advances in cryoelectron tomography (cryo-ET) have provided a new approach for determining the 3D structures of the intact virus, the HIV capsid, and the envelope glycoproteins located on the viral surface. A number of cryo-ET procedures related to specimen preservation, data collection, and image processing are presented in this chapter. The techniques described herein are well suited for determining the ultrastructure of bacterial and viral pathogens and their associated molecular machines in situ at nanometer resolution.


Antigens, CD4, Cryoelectron Microscopy, Electron Microscope Tomography, HIV, HIV Envelope Protein gp120, Virion, gag Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus