The knowledge of structures of viruses at atomic resolution is beneficial and powerful in discovery and design of vaccine and anti-viral drug. Electron cryo-Microscopy (cryo-EM) is one of the three major methods to determine 3D structures of biological samples. The rapid development of both instrument and data processing techniques has established an indispensable role for cryo-EM in studying structures and dynamics of macromolecules and viruses.
Under the protection of extremely low temperatures, virions are presented in their native forms and represent most physiologic cultures. With the help of cryo-EM, biophysical information of the viral particles is easily acquired, including viral morphology and outer-shell proteins, which supports identification and characterization of virus in a directly visualized manner. It is also possible to screen and then target important components in a viral life cycle, such as the receptors to viral entry and factors that facilitate this process.