Refined Cryo-EM Structure of the T4 Tail Tube: Exploring the Lowest Dose Limit.

Weili Zheng, Fengbin Wang, Nicholas M I Taylor, Ricardo C Guerrero-Ferreira, Petr G Leiman, Edward H Egelman


The bacteriophage T4 contractile tail (containing a tube and sheath) was the first biological assembly reconstructed in three dimensions by electron microscopy at a resolution of ∼35 Å in 1968. A single-particle reconstruction of the T4 baseplate was able to generate a 4.1 Å resolution map for the first two rings of the tube using the overall baseplate for alignment. We have now reconstructed the T4 tail tube at a resolution of 3.4 Å, more than a 1,000-fold increase in information content for the tube from 1968. We have used legacy software (Spider) to show that we can do better than the typical 2/3 Nyquist frequency. A reasonable map can be generated with only 1.5 electrons/Å