01/28/2016 11:00 AM EST
It is possible to use an imaging technique called cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to view, in atomic detail, the binding of a potential small molecule drug to a key protein in cancer cells. The cryo-EM image shown here helped researchers establish the sequence of structural changes that normally occur in the protein, p97. The protein p97, an important target for cancer therapies, is trapped in an inactive state by a new inhibitor. With the inhibitor (red) in place, the molecule cannot proceed into its normal reaction cycle, illustrated schematically along the circular gauge.