The Affinity Grid: A Pre-fabricated EM Grid for Monolayer Purification

Deborah F. Kelly, Priyanka D. Abeyrathne, Danijela Dukovski, Thomas Walz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


We have recently developed monolayer purification as a rapid and convenient technique to produce specimens of His-tagged proteins or macromolecular complexes for single-particle electron microscopy (EM) without biochemical purification. Here, we introduce the Affinity Grid, a pre-fabricated EM grid featuring a dried lipid monolayer that contains Ni-NTA lipids (lipids functionalized with a nickel-nitrilotriacetic acid group). The Affinity Grid, which can be stored for several months under ambient conditions, further simplifies and extends the use of monolayer purification. After characterizing the Affinity Grid, we used it to isolate, within minutes, ribosomal complexes from Escherichia coli cell extracts containing His-tagged rpl3, the human homolog of the E. coli 50 S subunit rplC. Ribosomal complexes with or without associated mRNA could be prepared depending on the way the sample was applied to the Affinity Grid . Vitrified Affinity Grid specimens could be used to calculate three-dimensional reconstructions of the 50 S ribosomal subunit as well as the 70 S ribosome and 30 S ribosomal subunit from images of the same sample. We established that Affinity Grids are stable for some time in the presence of glycerol and detergents, which allowed us to isolate His-tagged aquaporin-9 (AQP9) from detergent-solubilized membrane fractions of Sf9 insect cells. The Affinity Grid can thus be used to prepare single-particle EM specimens of soluble complexes and membrane proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-433
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 3 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'The Affinity Grid: A Pre-fabricated EM Grid for Monolayer Purification'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this