Nano Research

Article Title

Sub-molecular features of single proteins in solution resolved with scanning tunneling microscopy


liquid-phase scanningtunneling microscopy(STM), STM imaging underphysiological conditions, protein molecule, sub-molecular resolution


Scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) can be used to image individualbiological molecules, such as proteins, in vacuum or air. This requires sampledehydration and thus may not reflect the native state of the molecule. Extensiveefforts have been made to image single proteins in solution using STM; however,the images have revealed only round or oval shapes with no sub-moleculardetails. Here, we present the sub-molecular features of streptavidin proteins underphysiological conditions using a homebuilt low-leakage-current and highstabilityliquid phase STM. The N-lobe, C-lobe, and C-terminal tail of the epidermalgrowth factor receptor kinase domains were also resolved in solution. Our resultsdemonstrate that the structure, morphology, and dynamics of a protein moleculecan be examined under physiological conditions by the STM.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press