Macromolecular structure modeling from 3D EM using VolRover 2.0

Authors

  • Qin Zhang,

    1. Computational Visualization Center, Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, The University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712
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  • Radhakrishna Bettadapura,

    1. Computational Visualization Center, Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, The University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712
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  • Chandrajit Bajaj

    Corresponding author
    1. Computational Visualization Center, Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, The University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712
    • Computational Visualization Center, Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, The University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712
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  • This article was originally published online as an accepted preprint. The “Published Online” date corresponds to the preprint version. You can request a copy of the preprint by emailing the Biopolymers editorial office at biopolymers@wiley.com

Abstract

We review tools for structure identification and model-based refinement from three-dimensional electron microscopy implemented in our in-house software package, VOLROVER 2.0. For viral density maps with icosahedral symmetry, we segment the capsid, polymeric, and monomeric subunits using techniques based on automatic symmetry detection and multidomain fast marching. For large biomolecules without symmetry information, we again use our multidomain fast-marching method with manual or fit-based multiseeding to segment meaningful substructures. In either case, we subject the resulting segmented subunit to secondary structure detection when the EM resolution is sufficiently high, and rigid-body structure fitting when the corresponding X-ray structure is available. Secondary structure elements are identified by three techniques: our earlier volume-based and boundary-based skeletonization methods as well as a new method, currently in development, based on solving the grassfire flow equation. For rigid-body fitting, we adapt our earlier fast Fourier-based correlation scheme F2Dock. Our reported segmentation, secondary structure elements identification, and rigid-body fitting techniques, implemented in VOLROVER 2.0 are applied to the PSB 2011 cryo-EM modeling challenge data, and our results are briefly compared to similar results submitted from other research groups. The comparisons show that our techniques are equally capable of segmenting relatively accurate subunits from a viral or protein assembly, and that high segmentation quality leads in turn to higher-quality results of secondary structure elements identification and correlation-based rigid-body fitting. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Biopolymers 97: 709–731, 2012.

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