Illuminating the inner-workings of bacterial and viral pathogens by cryo-electron microscopy



P. J. Halfmann, S. J. Frey, K. Loeffler, M. Kuroda, T. Memura, T. Armbrust, J. E. Yang, Y. J. Hou, R. Baric, E. R. Wright, Y. Kawaoka, R. S. Kane. “Multivalent S2-based vaccines provide broad protection against SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and pangolin coronaviruses.” EBioMedicine 2022. (86), 104341, doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2022.104341.

S. Welbourn, S. Chakraborty, J. E. Yang, A. S. Gleinich, S. Gangadhara, S. Khan, C. Ferrebee, B. Yagnik, S. Burton, T. Charles, S. A. Smith, D. Williams, R. Mopuri, A. A. Upadhyay, J. Thompson, M. A. Price, S. Wang, Z. Qin, X. Shen, L. D. Williams, N. Eisel, T. Peters, L. Zhang, W. Kilembe, E. Karita, G. D. Tomaras, S. E. Bosinger, R. R. Amara, P. Azadi, E. R. Wright, S. Gnanakaran, C. A. Derdeyn.”A Neutralizing Antibody Target In Early HIV-1 Infection Was Recapitulated In Rhesus Macaques Immunized With The Transmitted/Founder Envelope Sequence.” PLoS Pathogens 2022. 18(5): e1010488, doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1010488


E. Yang, M. R. Larson, B. S. Sibert, J. Y. Kim, D. Parrell, J. C. Sanchez, V. Pappas, A. Kumar, K. Cai, K. J. Thompson, E. R. Wright. “Correlative Cryogenic Montage Electron Tomography For Comprehensive In-Situ Whole-Cell Structural Studies.” bioRxiv 2021.12.31.474669 doi:

B. S. Sibert, J. Y. Kim, J. E. Yang,  Z. Ke, C. C. Stobart, M. L. Moore, E. R. Wright. “Respiratory Syncytial Virus Matrix Protein Assembles as a Lattice with Local and Extended Order that Coordinates the Position of the Fusion Glycoprotein.” bioRxiv 2021.10.13.464285; doi:

B. S. Sibert, J. Y. Kim, J. E. Yang,  E. R. Wright. “Micropatterning Transmission Electron Microscopy Grids to Direct Cell Positioning within Whole-Cell Cryo-Electron Tomography Workflows.” Journal of Visualized Experiments 2021. (175), e62992, doi: 10.3791/62992

S. Chiba, S.J. Frey, P.J. Halfmann, M. Kuroda, T. Maemura, J.E. Yang, E.R. Wright, Y. Kawaoka, R.S. Kane. “Multivalent Nanoparticle-based Vaccines Protect Hamsters Against SARS-CoV-2 After a Single Immunization.” Communications Biology 2021. 4, 597; doi:

J.E. Yang, M.R. Larson, B.S. Sibert, S. Shrum, and E.R. Wright. “CorRelator: Interactive Software for High-Precision Cryo-Correlative Light and Electron Microscopy.”

E.J. Montemayor, N.T. Ploscariu, J.C. Sanchez, D. Parrell, R.S. Dillard, C.W. Shebelut, Z. Ke, R.C. Guerrero-Ferreira, and E.R. Wright. “Flagellar Structures From the Bacterium Caulobacter crescentus and Implications for Phage ΦCbK Predation of Multi-Flagellin Bacteria.”


J.E. Yang, M.R. Larson, B.S. Sibert, S. Shrum, and E.R. Wright. “CorRelator: An Interactive and Flexible Toolkit for High-Precision Cryo-Correlative Light and Electron Microscopy.”

E.J. Montemayor, N.T. Ploscariu, J.C. Sanchez, D. Parrell, R.S. Dillard, C.W. Shebelut, Z. Ke, R.C. Guerrero-Ferreira, and E.R. Wright. “Flagellar Structures From the Bacterium Caulobacter crescentus and Implications for Phage ΦCbK Predation of Multi-Flagellin Bacteria.”

B. Ha, J. Yang, X. Chen, S.J. Jadhao, E. R. Wright, and L. J. Anderson. “Two RSV Platforms for G, F, or G+F Proteins VLPs. Viruses. 2020: 12(9): 906.


Z. Ke, R. S. Dillard, T. Chirkova, F. Leon, C. C. Stobart, C. M. Hampton, J. D. Strauss, D. Rajan, C. A. Rostad, J. V. Taylor, H. Yi, R. Shah, M. Jin, T. V. Hartert, R. S. Peeples Jr., B. S. Graham, M. L. Moore, L. J. Anderson, and E. R. Wright. “The Morphology and Assembly of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Revealed by Cryo-Electron Tomography.” Viruses. 2018: 10(8). pii: E446.

R. S. Dillard, C. M. Hampton, J. D. Strauss, Z. Ke, D. Altomara, R. C. Guerrero-Ferreira, G. Kiss, and E. R. Wright. “Biological Applications at the Cutting Edge of Cryo-Electron Microscopy.” Microscopy and Microanalysis. 2018: 24 (4): 406 – 419.

T. Reyes-Robles, R. S. Dillard, L. S. Cairns, C. A. Silva-Valenzuela, M. Housman, A. Ali, E. R. Wright, and A. Camilli. “Vibrio Cholerae Outer Membrane Vesicles Inhibit Bacteriophage Infection.” Journal of Bacteriology. 2018: 200(15). pii: e00792-17.

Z. Ke, J. D. Strauss, C. M. Hampton, M. A. Brindley, R. S. Dillard, F. Leon, K. M. Lamb, R. K. Plemper, and E. R. Wright. “Promotion of Virus Assembly and Organization by the Measles Virus Matrix Protein.” Nature Communications. 2018: 9: 1736.


A. M. Gigante, C. M. Hampton, R. S. Dillard, F. Gil, M. J. Catalão, J. Moniz-Pereira, E. R. Wright, and M. Pimentel. “The Ms6 Mycolyl-Arabinogalactan Esterase LysB is Essential for an Efficient Mycobacteriophage-Induced Lysis.” Viruses. 2017: 9 (11): 1 – 13.

C. M. Hampton, R. C. Guerrero-Ferreira, R. E. Storms, J. V. Taylor, H. Yi, P. A. Gulig, and E. R. Wright. “The Opportunistic Pathogen Vibrio vulnificus Produces Outer Membrane Vesicles in a Spatially Distinct Manner Related to Capsular Polysaccharide.” Frontiers in Microbiology. 2017: 8 (2177): 1 – 12.

K. Ellison, J. Kan, R. S. Dillard, D. T. Kysela, C. M. Hampton, Z.Ke, E. R. Wright, N. Biais, A. B. Dalia, and Y. V. Brun. “Obstruction Of Pilus Retraction Stimulates Bacterial Surface Sensing.” Science. 2017: 358 (6362): 535-538.

B. Alewijnse, A. Ashton, M. Chambers, S. Chen, A. Cheng, M. Ebrahim, E. Eng, W. Hagen, A. Koster, C. Lopez, N. Lukoyanova, J. Ortega, L. Renault, S. Reyntjens, W. Rice, G. Scapin, R. Schrijver, A. Siebert, S. Stagg, V. Grum-Tokars, E. R. Wright, S. Wu, Z. Yu, Z. H. Zhou, B. Carragher, and C. Potter. “Best Practices for Managing Large CryoEM Facilities.” Journal of Structural Biology. S1047-8477 (17): 30131-30134 (2017).

Y. Jang, W. T. Choi, W. T. Heller, Z. Ke, E. R. Wright, and J. A. Champion. “Engineering Globular Protein Vesicles Through Tunable Self-Assembly of Recombinant Fusion Proteins.” Small. 1700399 (2017).

K. F. Mittendorf, J. Marinko, C. M. Hampton, Z. Ke, A. Hadziselimovic, J. P. Schlebach, C. L. Law, J. Li, E. R. Wright, C. R. Sanders, and M. D. Ohi. “Peripheral Myelin Protein 22 Alters Membrane Architecture.” Science Advances. e1700220 (2017).

C. M. Hampton, J. D. Strauss, Z. Ke, R. S. Dillard, J. E. Hammonds, E. Alonas, T. M. Desai, M. Marin, R. E. Storms, F. Leon, G. B. Melikyan, P. J. Santangelo, P. W. Spearman, and E. R. Wright. “Correlated Fluorescence Microscopy and Cryo-Electron Tomography of Virus-Infected or Transfected Mammalian Cells.” Nature Protocols. 12 (1): 150-167 (2017).

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E. Magnotti, S. Hughes, L. Hough, R. Dillard, A. Karubamkandathil, T. Lian, J. Wall, X. Zuo, E. Wright, and V. Conticello. “Self-Assembly of An Alpha-Helical Peptide Into A Crystalline Two-Dimensional Nanoporous Framework.” Journal of the American Chemical Society. 138 (50): 16274-16282 (2016).

C. C. Stobart, C. A. Rostad, Z. Ke, R. S. Dillard, C. M. Hampton, J. D. Strauss, H. Yi, A. L. Hotard, J. Meg, R. J. Pickles, K. Sakamoto, S. Lee, M. G. Currier, S. M. Moin, B. S. Graham, M. S. Boukhvalova, B. E. Gilbert, J. C. G. Blanco, P. A. Piedra, E. R. Wright, and M. L. Moore. “A Live-Attenuated RSV Vaccine With Increased Incorporation of Pre-Fusion F Exhibits Enhanced Thermal Stability And Immunogenicity.” Nature Communications. 7: 13916 (2016).

Emory News

A. Mitchell, W. D. Gray, M. Schroeder, H. Yi, J. V. Taylor, R. S. Dillard, Z. Ke, E. R. Wright, D. Stephens, J. D. Roback, and C. D. Searles. “Pleomorphic Structures in Human Blood are Red Blood Cell-Derived Microparticles, Not Bacteria.” PLoS One. 11 (10): e0163582 (2016).


J. D. Strauss, J. E. Hammonds, H. Yi, L. Ding, P. W. Spearman, and E. R. Wright. “Three-Dimensional Structural Characterization of HIV-1 Tethered to Human Cells.” Journal of Virology. 90 (3): 1507-1521 (2015).

H. Yi, J. D. Strauss, Z. Ke, E. Alonas, R. S. Dillard, C. M. Hampton., K. M. Lamb, J. E. Hammonds, P. J. Santangelo, P. W. Spearman, and E. R. Wright. “ Native Immunogold Labeling of Cell Surface Proteins and Viral Glycoproteins for Cryo-Electron Microscopy and Cryo-Electron Tomography Applications.” Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry. 63 (10): 780-792 (2015).

L. Jin, D. Li, G. N. Alesi, J. Fan, H. B. Kang, Z. Lu, T. J. Boggon, P. Jin, H. Yi, E. R. Wright, D. Duong, N. T. Seyfried, R. Egnatchik, R. J. DeBerardinis, K. R. Magliocca, C. He, M. L. Arellano, H. J. Khoury, D. M. Shin, F. R. Khuri, and S. Kang. “Glutamate Dehydrogenase 1 Signals Through Antioxidant Glutathione Peroxidase 1 to Regulate Redox Homeostasis and Tumor Growth.” Cancer Cell. 27 (20); 257-270 (2015).

E. H. Egelman, C. Xu, F. DiMaio, E. Magnotti, C. Modlin, X. Yu, E. Wright, D. Baker and V. P. Conticello. “Structural Plasticity of Helical Nanotubes Based on Coiled-coil Assemblies.” Structure. 23 (2): 280-289 (2015).


R. C. Guerrero-Ferreira, and E. R. Wright. “Zernike Phase Contrast Cryo-Electron Tomography Of Whole Bacterial Cells.” Journal of Structural Biology. 185 (1): 129-133 (2014). G. Kiss, X. Chen, M. A. Brindley, P. Campbell, A. L. Afonso, Z. Ke, J. M. Holl,

R. C. Guerrero-Ferreira, L. A. Byrd-Leotis, J. Steel, D. A. Steinhauer, R. K. Plemper, D. F. Kelly, P. W. Spearman, and E. R. Wright. “Capturing Enveloped Viruses On Affinity Grids For Downstream Cryo-Electron Microscopy Applications.” Microscopy and Microanalysis. 20: 164-174 (2014).

E. Alonas, A. W. Lifland, M. Gudheti, D. Vanover, J. Jung, C. Zurla, J. Kirschman, V. F. Fiore, A. Douglas, T. H. Barker, H. Yi, E. R. Wright, J. E. Crowe Jr, and P. J. Santangelo. “Combining Single RNA Sensitive Probes with Subdiffraction-Limited and Live-Cell Imaging Enables the Characterization of Virus Dynamics in Cells.” ACS Nano. 8 (1): 302-315 (2014).

G. Kiss, J. M. Holl, G. M. Williams, E. Alonas, D. Vanover, A. W. Lifland, M. Gudheti, R. C. Guerrero-Ferreira, V. Nair, H. Yi, B. S. Graham, P. J. Santangelo, and E. R. Wright. “Structural Analysis of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Reveals the Position of M2-1 Between the Matrix Protein and the Ribonucleoprotein Complex.” Journal of Virology. 88 (13): 7602-7614 (2014).


M. A. Brindley, R. Suter, I. Schestak, G. Kiss, E. R. Wright, and R. K. Plemper. “A Stabilized Headless Measles Virus Attachment Protein Stack Efficiently Triggers Membrane Fusion.” Journal of Virology. 87 (21): 11693-11703 (2013).

C. Xu, R. Liu, A. Mehta, R. C. Guerrero-Ferreira, E. R. Wright, S. Dunin-Horkawicz, K. Morris, L. Serpell, X. Zuo, J. Wall, and V. P. Conticello. “Rational Design of Helical Nanotubes from Self-assembly of Coiled-coil Lock Washers.” Journal of the American Chemical Society. 135 (41): 15565-15578 (2013). N. J. Davis, Y. Cohen, S. Sanselicio, C. Fumeaux, S. Ozaki, J. Luciano, R. C.

Guerrero-Ferreira, E. R. Wright, U. Jenal, and P. H. Viollier. “De- And Re-Polarization Mechanism Of Flagellar Morphogenesis During A Bacterial Cell Cycle.” Genes and Development. 27 (18): 2049-2062 (2013).


Y. Ding, Z. Liu, S Desai, Y. Zhao, H. Liu, L.K. Pannell H. Yi, E.R. Wright, L.B. Owen, W. Dean-Colomb, O. Fodstad, J. Lu, S.P. Ledoux, G.L. Wilson, M. Tan. “Receptor tyrosine kinase ErbB2 translocates into mitochondria and regulates cellular metabolism.” Nature Communications. 3: 1271 (2012).

M. Hellerstein, Y. Xu, T. Marino, S. Lu, H. Yi, E. Wright, H. Robinson. “Co-expression of HIV-1 virus-like particles and granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor by GEO-D03 DNA vaccine.” Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics. 8: 1654 – 1658 (2012).

G. I. Yucelen, D. Y. Kang, R. C. Guerrero-Ferreira, E. R. Wright, H. W. Beckham, S. Nair. “Shaping single-walled metal oxide nanotubes from precursors of controlled curvature.” Nano Letters. 12 (2): 827-32 (2012).


R. C. Guerrero-Ferreira, P. H. Viollier, B. Ely, J. S. Poindexter, M. Georgieva, G. J. Jensen, E. R. Wright. “Alternative mechanism for bacteriophage adsorption to the motile bacterium Caulobacter crescentus.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A. 108 (24): 9963-9968 (2011).

July 25, 2011: American Society for Microbiology Small Things Considered “The Microbe Blog”
In brief: Phage biology. Nature Reviews Microbiology. 2011 Aug 15; 9(8): 561.


D. Y. Kang, J. Zang, E. R. Wright, A. L. McCanna, C. W. Jones, S. Nair. “Dephydration, Dehydroxylation, and Rehydroxylation of single-walled aluminosilicate nanotubes.” ACS Nano, 4 (8): 4897-4907 (2010).

R. E. Sallach, W. Cui, F. Balderrama, A. W. Martinez, J. Wen, C. A. Haller, J. V. Taylor, E. R. Wright, R. C. Long Jr, E. L. Chaikof. “Long-term biostability of self-assembling protein polymers in the absence of covalent crosslinking.” Biomaterials. 31 (4): 779-791 (2010).


E. Lee, B. P. Fahimian, C. V. Iancu, C. Suloway, G. E. Murphy, E. R. Wright, D. Castaño-Díez, G. J. Jensen, J. Miao. “Radiation dose reduction and image enhancement in biological imaging through equally-sloped tomography.” Journal of Structural Biology. 164 (2): 221-227 (2008).


C. V. Iancu, W. F. Tivol, J. B. Schooler, D. P. Dias, G. P. Henderson, G. E. Murphy, E. R. Wright, Z. Li, Z. Yu, A. Briegel, L. Gan, Y. He and G. J. Jensen. “Electron cryotomography sample preparation using the Vitrobot.” Nature Protocols. 1: 2813-2819 (2007).

E. R. Wright*, J. B. Schooler*, H. J. Ding, C. Kieffer, C. Fillmore, W. I. Sundquist, and G. J. Jensen. “Electron Cryotomography of Immature HIV-1 Reveals the Structure of the CA and SP1 Domains of Gag.” The EMBO Journal. 26 (8): 2218-2226 (2007).


C. Iancu, E. R. Wright, B. Heymann, G. J. Jensen. “A Comparison of Liquid Nitrogen and Liquid Helium as Potential Cryogens for Electron Cryotomography.” Journal of Structural Biology. 153 (3): 231–240 (2006).

E. R. Wright*, C. Iancu*, W. Tivol, and G. J. Jensen. “Observations on the Behavior of Vitreous Ice at ~82 and ~12 K.” Journal of Structural Biology. 153 (3): 241–252 (2006).


C. Iancu*, E. R. Wright*, J. Benjamin, W. Tivol, D. P. Dias, G. E. Murphy, R. C. Morrison, J. B. Heymann, and G. J. Jensen. “A ‘Flip-flop’ Rotation Stage for Routine Dual-axis Electron Cryotomography.” Journal of Structural Biology. 151 (3): 288–297 (2005).

K. Nagapudi, B. S. Thomas, J. Ok-Park, M. Sreenivasarao, E. R. Wright, V. P. Conticello, E. L. Chaikof. “Viscoelastic and Mechanical Behavior of Recombinant Protein Elastomers.” Biomaterials. 26 (23): 4695–4706 (2005).

K. Nagapudi, W. T. Brinkman, J. Leisen, B. S. Thomas, E. R. Wright, C. Haller, R. P. Apkarian, V. P. Conticello, E. L. Chaikof. “Protein-Based Thermoplastic Elastomers.” Macromolecules. 38 (2): 345–354 (2005).


R. P. Apkarian, E. R. Wright, V. A. Seredyuk, S. Eustis, L. A. Lyon, V. P. Conticello, and F. M. Menger. “In-Lens Cryo-High Resolution Scanning Electron Microscopy: Methodologies for Molecular Imaging of Self-Assembled Organic Hydrogels.” Microscopy and Microanalysis. 9 (4): 286-295 (2003).

E. R. Wright, V. P. Conticello, and R. P. Apkarian. “Morphological Characterization of Elastin-Mimetic Block Copolymers Utilizing Cryo- and Cryoetch-HRSEM.” Microscopy and Microanalysis. 9 (3): 171-182 (2003).


F. M. Menger, V. A. Seredyuk, R. P. Apkarian, and E. R. Wright. “Colloidal Assemblies of Branched Geminis Studied by Cryo-etch-HRSEM.” Journal of the American Chemical Society. 124 (42): 12408-12409 (2002).

E. R. Wright, V. P. Conticello. “Self-Assembly of Block Copolymers Derived from Elastin-Mimetic Polypeptide Sequences.” Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews. 54 (8): 1057-1073 (2002).

E. R. Wright, R. A. McMillan, A. Cooper, R. P. Apkarian, and V. P. Conticello. “Thermoplastic Elastomer Hydrogels via Self-Assembly of an Elastin-Mimetic Triblock Polypeptide.” Advanced Functional Materials. 12 (2): 149-154 (2002).

Review Articles


R. C. Guerrero-Ferreira and E. R. Wright. “Cryo-Electron Tomography of Bacterial Viruses.” Virology. 435 (1): 179 – 186 (2013).


E. R. Wright and P. W. Spearman. “Unraveling the Structural Basis of HIV-1 Neutralization.” Future Microbiology. 7 (11): 1251 – 1254 (2012).


E. R. Wright. Commentary: Correlative Structural Biology: How to Investigate the Fine Details of Viral Structure. Viruses. 2 (1): 107-110 (2010).

Book Chapters Authored


C.J. Szymanski, H. Yi, J. L. Liu, E. R. Wright, and C. K. Payne. Imaging Intracellular Quantum Dots: Fluorescence Microscopy and Transmission Electron Microscopy. Methods in Molecular Biology. 1026: 21-33 (2013).

J.M. Holl, and E. R. Wright. The Use of SEM to Explore Viral Structure and Trafficking. Scanning Electron Microscopy for the Life Sciences. 99-114 (2013).


J. Liu, E. R. Wright, and H. Winkler. 3D Visualization of HIV Virions by Cryoelectron Tomography. Methods in Enzymology. 483: 267-290 (2010).