TTP Labtech introduces automated chameleon system for next-gen cryoelectron microscopy sample prep

Published: 6-Aug-2019

New technology enables the reliable, consistent and scalable application of cryoelectron microscopy to protein research and drug discovery

TTP Labtech announces the introduction of chameleon, an industry enabling sample preparation system for cryoelectron microscopy (cryoEM).

The new system has been designed to enable consistent application of samples to high-quality foil grids for cryoEM analysis, automating the current standard approach, which is a technically demanding, largely manual process.

Based on the academically developed Spotiton instrument conceived at the New York Structural Biology Center, chameleon represents the next generation of sample preparation solutions for cryoEM.

This will allow researchers in the rapidly growing field to more easily and accurately determine the structure of biomolecules, supporting protein research and drug discovery.

Relatively recent advances in resolution have meant that cryoEM is able to effectively solve protein structures that were not previously possible using traditional methods such as NMR and X-ray crystallography.

However, the challenging process of obtaining vitrified samples of suitable thickness on foil grids presents a significant bottleneck. The chameleon instrument developed by TTP Labtech allows researchers to automate this process in a reliable and consistent manner – enabling scientists to overcome some of the key limitations that have held back cryoEM from reaching its full potential.

The new chameleon system will bring significant improvements to current sample prep workflows, including

  • high speed blot-free plunging
  • automated grid handling
  • grid screening based on ice thickness.

Integral to chameleon is an algorithm that calculates the optimal plunge time for freezing, to protect and conserve samples for improved 3D imaging.

David Newble, Managing Director of TTP Labtech, said: “We are extremely excited to be launching the chameleon system, which enables high quality, repeatable preparation of samples for cryoelectron microscopy. This technology will enable scientists to improve data quality and significantly reduce the time required to prepare protein samples for imaging.”

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