Geometric modeling of subcellular structures, organelles, and multiprotein complexes


Yiying Tong, Department of Computer Science and Engineering and Guo-Wei Wei, Department of Mathematics, Michigan State University, MI 48824, USA.



Recently, the structure, function, stability, and dynamics of subcellular structures, organelles, and multiprotein complexes have emerged as a leading interest in structural biology. Geometric modeling not only provides visualizations of shapes for large biomolecular complexes but also fills the gap between structural information and theoretical modeling, and enables the understanding of function, stability, and dynamics. This paper introduces a suite of computational tools for volumetric data processing, information extraction, surface mesh rendering, geometric measurement, and curvature estimation of biomolecular complexes. Particular emphasis is given to the modeling of cryo-electron microscopy data. Lagrangian-triangle meshes are employed for the surface presentation. On the basis of this representation, algorithms are developed for surface area and surface-enclosed volume calculation, and curvature estimation. Methods for volumetric meshing have also been presented. Because the technological development in computer science and mathematics has led to multiple choices at each stage of the geometric modeling, we discuss the rationales in the design and selection of various algorithms. Analytical models are designed to test the computational accuracy and convergence of proposed algorithms. Finally, we select a set of six cryo-electron microscopy data representing typical subcellular complexes to demonstrate the efficacy of the proposed algorithms in handling biomolecular surfaces and explore their capability of geometric characterization of binding targets. This paper offers a comprehensive protocol for the geometric modeling of subcellular structures, organelles, and multiprotein complexes. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.