The Institut Pasteur officially unveiled its new Thermo Scientific Krios Cryo-TEM electron microscope at an event in Paris, France today. The availability of one of the most powerful commercially available microscopes in the world in the center of Paris will allow structural biologists at the Institut Pasteur to extend their research in areas such as immunology, bacteriology, virology, parasitology, and neuroscience. By acquiring the Thermo Scientific Krios Cryo-TEM system, the Institut Pasteur is offering its scientists an extraordinarily powerful tool to observe cells and get a closer look at life.
The new instrument will allow the Institut Pasteur to conduct research related to clarifying the basic processes of life, such as protein assemblies and cell signaling. Many pathogens disrupt these processes in order to invade host organisms and spread disease. Identifying the basic mechanisms that underpin the organization of living systems can have a major impact on research in a variety of biological processes and infectious strategies.
Other Institut Pasteur teams will also benefit from this new equipment; potential uses include examining host pathogen interactions and analyzing mechanisms associated with the emergence of neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.
“The arrival of this remarkable microscope is a major scientific event for the Institut Pasteur’s teams,” said Olivier Schwartz, Scientific Director at the Institut Pasteur. “We are all eager to discover the capabilities of the Thermo Scientific Krios Cryo-TEM and to deepen our knowledge, and more broadly that of the scientific and medical research community, through the data and images generated.”
“Cryo-TEM has changed the way scientists learn about neurodegenerative diseases, pathogens and cancers because of its ability to provide them with an unprecedented look at the structures of proteins and provide new insights in disease mechanisms,” said Mike Shafer, president, materials and structural analysis, Thermo Fisher. “We applaud the Institut Pasteur for being at the forefront of innovation, and their installation of our Krios Cryo-TEM is further proof of their commitment to advancing important research in these and other disciplines.”
Cryo-TEM is a technique where a sample is cooled to cryogenic temperatures (below -180 °C), providing scientists the opportunity to create 3D images of proteins and viruses that couldn’t otherwise be obtained. Understanding the structure of viruses and proteins helps determine how they function, potentially leading to prevention or treatment of the diseases they cause. For example, if scientists understand how the HIV virus enters and infects a cell, or how, with neurodegenerative disease, a tau protein aggregates and forms plaque in the brain, it makes it easier to design a drug for prevention.
Recent advancements made to the design and imaging hardware, along with enhanced image processing and automation in the Thermo Scientific Krios Cryo-TEM, have helped to catapult the technique’s success. Leading scientists have adopted the technique as one of the most critical tools in their laboratory.