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An electron microscopy journey in the study of microtubule structure and dynamics.

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Structural characterization of microtubules has been the realm of three-dimensional electron microscopy and thus has evolved hand in hand with the progress of this technique, from the initial 3D reconstructions of stained tubulin assemblies, and the first atomic model of tubulin by electron crystallography of 2D sheets of protofilaments, to the ever more detailed cryoelectron microscopy structures of frozen-hydrated microtubules. Most recently, hybrid helical and single particle image processing techniques, and the latest detector technology, have lead to atomic models built directly into the density maps of microtubules in different functional states, shading new light into the critical process of microtubule dynamic instability.

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