To truly understand bioenergetic processes such as ATP synthesis, membrane-bound substrate transport or flagellar rotation, systems need to be analysed in a cellular context. Cryo-ET (cryo-electron tomography) is an essential part of this process, as it is currently the only technique which can directly determine the spatial organization of proteins at the level of both the cell and the individual protein complexes. The need to assess bioenergetic processes at a cellular level is becoming more and more apparent with the increasing interest in mitochondrial diseases. In recent years, cryo-ET has contributed significantly to our understanding of the molecular organization of mitochondria and chloroplasts. The present mini-review first describes the technique of cryo-ET and then discusses its role in membrane bioenergetics specifically in chloroplasts and mitochondrial research.

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