Targeting bacterial nanomachinery: Visualizing host-pathogen interactions in situ

The “Resolution Revolution” by single particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) allowed high-resolution structural analysis of macromolecules that have been challenging to tackle with X-ray crystallography and NMR. The next “revolution” in biology will be led by approaches that directly reveal high-resolution details of critical processes in their native context. Cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) is a uniquely suited imaging technique to determine in situ structures, and thereby also mechanisms, of macromolecular complexes. Park lab utilizes advanced cryo-ET techniques to study how bacterial pathogens use complex multiprotein nanomachines to inject bacterial substrate into target cells to achieve infection and survival.