[3dem] problematic paper about gold nano particle labeling just published in Structure

Jensen, Grant J. jensen at caltech.edu
Tue Jun 10 18:25:01 PDT 2014

Dear colleagues,

bad news: a post-doc in my lab called my attention to a figure in a paper published recently in Structure that appears to be fraudulent.

It is Figure 3 of

High-Affinity Gold Nanoparticle Pin to Label and Localize Histidine-Tagged Protein in Macromolecular Assemblies<http://www.cell.com/structure/abstract/S0969-2126%2814%2900016-1>
Kelsey C. Anthony, Changjiang You, Jacob Piehler, Daniel A. Pomeranz Krummel
Structure, Vol. 22, Issue 4, p628–635
Published online: February 20, 2014

It appears that parts of one image have been duplicated and cut and pasted into other images, with “gold” particles added (photoshopped?) on top.  If you’d like to judge for yourself, please see the two slides I’ve attached.  Note how the background noise spots marked with the black arrows match, as do the noise spots marked with the red arrows, and note the strange square box around the particle marked with the blue arrow.  In the bottom, I have captured a screen shot of the particle marked with my star on the upper left corner and cut and paste it next to the two particles supposedly “decorated” with gold fiducials on the right, but notice how all three particles seem to be identical.  Even the noise around the particles match.

We alerted the journal editors a few weeks ago, but as it now appears that their process to deal with this could be long, we wanted to alert the community too before anyone lost time pondering this new “method”.


Grant Jensen
Professor of Biology and Investigator, HHMI
California Institute of Technology, Mail code 114-96
1200 E. California Blvd.
Pasadena, CA  91125
626-395-8827 (phone)
626-395-5730 (fax)
office location: 359 Broad (northwest corner of campus)

Administrative Assistant Karin Mallard
626-395-8893 (phone)

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