Constructing and validating initial C? models from subnanometer resolution density maps with pathwalking.
ABSTRACT: A significant number of macromolecular structures solved by electron cryo-microscopy and X-ray crystallography obtain resolutions of 3.5-6Å, at which direct atomistic interpretation is difficult. To address this, we developed pathwalking, a semi-automated protocol to enumerate reasonable C? models from near-atomic resolution density maps without a structural template or sequence-structure correspondence. Pathwalking uses an approach derived from the Traveling Salesman Problem to rapidly generate an ensemble of initial models for individual proteins, which can later be optimized to produce full atomic models. Pathwalking can also be used to validate and identify potential structural ambiguities in models generated from near-atomic resolution density maps. In this work, examples from the EMDB and PDB are used to assess the broad applicability and accuracy of our method. With the growing number of near-atomic resolution density maps from cryo-EM and X-ray crystallography, pathwalking can become an important tool in modeling protein structures.
Project description:As electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) can now frequently achieve near atomic resolution, accurate interpretation of these density maps in terms of atomistic detail has become paramount in deciphering macromolecular structure and function. However, there are few software tools for modeling protein structure from cryo-EM density maps in this resolution range. Here, we present an extension of our original Pathwalking protocol, which can automatically trace a protein backbone directly from a near-atomic resolution (3-6Å) density map. The original Pathwalking approach utilized a Traveling Salesman Problem solver for backbone tracing, but manual adjustment was still required during modeling. In the new version, human intervention is minimized and we provide a more robust approach for backbone modeling. This includes iterative secondary structure identification, termini detection and the ability to model multiple subunits without prior segmentation. Overall, the new Pathwalking procedure provides a more complete and robust tool for annotating protein structure function in near-atomic resolution density maps.
Project description:With single-particle electron cryomicroscopy (cryo-EM), it is possible to visualize large, macromolecular assemblies in near-native states. Although subnanometer resolutions have been routinely achieved for many specimens, state of the art cryo-EM has pushed to near-atomic (3.3-4.6 Å) resolutions. At these resolutions, it is now possible to construct reliable atomic models directly from the cryo-EM density map. In this study, we describe our recently developed protocols for performing the three-dimensional reconstruction and modeling of Mm-cpn, a group II chaperonin, determined to 4.3 Å resolution. This protocol, utilizing the software tools EMAN, Gorgon and Coot, can be adapted for use with nearly all specimens imaged with cryo-EM that target beyond 5 Å resolution. Additionally, the feature recognition and computational modeling tools can be applied to any near-atomic resolution density maps, including those from X-ray crystallography.
Project description:Cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) methods began to be used in the mid-1970s to study thin and periodic arrays of proteins. Following a half-century of development in cryo-specimen preparation, instrumentation, data collection, data processing, and modeling software, cryo-EM has become a routine method for solving structures from large biological assemblies to small biomolecules at near to true atomic resolution. This review explores the critical roles played by the Protein Data Bank (PDB) and Electron Microscopy Data Bank (EMDB) in partnership with the community to develop the necessary infrastructure to archive cryo-EM maps and associated models. Public access to cryo-EM structure data has in turn facilitated better understanding of structure-function relationships and advancement of image processing and modeling tool development. The partnership between the global cryo-EM community and PDB and EMDB leadership has synergistically shaped the standards for metadata, one-stop deposition of maps and models, and validation metrics to assess the quality of cryo-EM structures. The advent of cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) for in situ molecular cell structures at a broad resolution range and their correlations with other imaging data introduce new data archival challenges in terms of data size and complexity in the years to come.
Project description:Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) density maps at medium resolution (5-10 Å) reveal secondary structural features such as α-helices and β-sheets, but they lack the side chain details that would enable a direct structure determination. Among the more than 800 entries in the Electron Microscopy Data Bank (EMDB) of medium-resolution density maps that are associated with atomic models, a wide variety of similarities can be observed between maps and models. To validate such atomic models and to classify structural features, a local similarity criterion, the <i>F</i><sub>1</sub> score, is proposed and evaluated in this study. The <i>F</i><sub>1</sub> score is theoretically normalized to a range from zero to one, providing a local measure of cylindrical agreement between the density and atomic model of a helix. A systematic scan of 30,994 helices (among 3,247 protein chains modeled into medium-resolution density maps) reveals an actual range of observed <i>F</i><sub>1</sub> scores from 0.171 to 0.848, suggesting that the cylindrical fit of the current data is well stratified by the proposed measure. The best (highest) <i>F</i><sub>1</sub> scores tend to be associated with regions that exhibit high and spatially homogeneous local resolution (between 5 Å and 7.5 Å) in the helical density. The proposed <i>F</i><sub>1</sub> scores can be used as a discriminative classifier for validation studies and as a ranking criterion for cryo-EM density features in databases.
Project description:The ribosome is a highly dynamic machine responsible for protein synthesis within the cell. Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and X-ray crystallography structures of ribosomal particles, alone and in complex with diverse ligands (protein factors, RNAs and small molecules), have revealed the dynamic nature of the ribosome and provided much needed insight into translation and its regulation. In the past years, there has been exponential growth in the deposition of cryo-EM maps into the Electron Microscopy Data Bank (EMDB) as well as atomic structures into the Protein Data Bank (PDB). Unfortunately, the deposited ribosomal particles usually have distinct orientations with respect to one another, which complicate the comparison of the available structures. To simplify this, we have developed a Database of Aligned Ribosomal Complexes, the DARC site (http://darcsite.genzentrum.lmu.de/darc/), which houses the available cryo-EM maps and atomic coordinates of ribosomal particles from the EMDB and PDB aligned within a common coordinate system. An easy-to-use, searchable interface allows users to access and download >130 cryo-EM maps and >300 atomic models in the format of brix and pdb files, respectively. The aligned coordinate system substantially simplifies direct visualization of conformational changes in the ribosome, such as subunit rotation and head-swiveling, as well as direct comparison of bound ligands, such as antibiotics or translation factors.
Project description:The increasing power and popularity of cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) in structural biology brought about the development of so-called hybrid methods, which permit the interpretation of cryo-EM density maps beyond their nominal resolution in terms of atomic models. The Cryo-EM Modeling Challenge 2010 is the first community effort to bring together developers of hybrid methods as well as cryo-EM experimentalists. Participating in the challenge, the molecular dynamics flexible fitting (MDFF) method was applied to a number of cryo-EM density maps. The results are described here with special emphasis on the use of symmetry-based restraints to improve the quality of atomic models derived from density maps of symmetric complexes; on a comparison of the stereochemical quality of atomic models resulting from different hybrid methods; and on application of MDFF to electron crystallography data.
Project description:Advances in electron cryo-microscopy have enabled structure determination of macromolecules at near-atomic resolution. However, structure determination, even using de novo methods, remains susceptible to model bias and overfitting. Here we describe a complete workflow for data acquisition, image processing, all-atom modelling and validation of brome mosaic virus, an RNA virus. Data were collected with a direct electron detector in integrating mode and an exposure beyond the traditional radiation damage limit. The final density map has a resolution of 3.8 Å as assessed by two independent data sets and maps. We used the map to derive an all-atom model with a newly implemented real-space optimization protocol. The validity of the model was verified by its match with the density map and a previous model from X-ray crystallography, as well as the internal consistency of models from independent maps. This study demonstrates a practical approach to obtain a rigorously validated atomic resolution electron cryo-microscopy structure.
Project description:Single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and three-dimensional (3D) image processing have gained importance in the last few years to obtain atomic structures of drug targets. Obtaining atomic-resolution 3D structure better than ~2.5 Å is a standard approach in pharma companies to design and optimize therapeutic compounds against drug targets like proteins. Protein crystallography is the main technique in solving the structures of drug targets at atomic resolution. However, this technique requires protein crystals which in turn is a major bottleneck. It was not possible to obtain the structure of proteins better than 2.5 Å resolution by any other methods apart from protein crystallography until 2015. Recent advances in single-particle cryo-EM and 3D image processing have led to a resolution revolution in the field of structural biology that has led to high-resolution protein structures, thus breaking the cryo-EM resolution barriers to facilitate drug discovery. There are 24 structures solved by single-particle cryo-EM with resolution 2.5 Å or better in the EMDataBank (EMDB) till date. Among these, five cryo-EM 3D reconstructions of proteins in the EMDB have their associated coordinates deposited in Protein Data Bank (PDB), with bound inhibitor/ ligand. Thus, for the first time, single-particle cryo-EM was included in the structure-based drug design (SBDD) pipeline for solving protein structures independently or where crystallography has failed to crystallize the protein. Further, this technique can be complementary and supplementary to protein crystallography field in solving 3D structures. Thus, single-particle cryo-EM can become a standard approach in pharmaceutical industry in the design, validation, and optimization of therapeutic compounds targeting therapeutically important protein molecules during preclinical drug discovery research. The present chapter will describe briefly the history and the principles of single-particle cryo-EM and 3D image processing to obtain atomic-resolution structure of proteins and their complex with their drug targets/ligands.
Project description:Recent advances in the field of electron cryomicroscopy (cryo-EM) have resulted in a rapidly increasing number of atomic models of biomacromolecules that have been solved using this technique and deposited in the Protein Data Bank and the Electron Microscopy Data Bank. Similar to macromolecular crystallography, validation tools for these models and maps are required. While some of these validation tools may be borrowed from crystallography, new methods specifically designed for cryo-EM validation are required. Here, new computational methods and tools implemented in PHENIX are discussed, including d99 to estimate resolution, phenix.auto_sharpen to improve maps and phenix.mtriage to analyze cryo-EM maps. It is suggested that cryo-EM half-maps and masks should be deposited to facilitate the evaluation and validation of cryo-EM-derived atomic models and maps. The application of these tools to deposited cryo-EM atomic models and maps is also presented.
Project description:Electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) has played an increasingly important role in elucidating the structure and function of macromolecular assemblies in near native solution conditions. Typically, however, only non-atomic resolution reconstructions have been obtained for these large complexes, necessitating computational tools for integrating and extracting structural details. With recent advances in cryo-EM, maps at near-atomic resolutions have been achieved for several macromolecular assemblies from which models have been manually constructed. In this work, we describe a new interactive modeling toolkit called Gorgon targeted at intermediate to near-atomic resolution density maps (10-3.5 Å), particularly from cryo-EM. Gorgon's de novo modeling procedure couples sequence-based secondary structure prediction with feature detection and geometric modeling techniques to generate initial protein backbone models. Beyond model building, Gorgon is an extensible interactive visualization platform with a variety of computational tools for annotating a wide variety of 3D volumes. Examples from cryo-EM maps of Rotavirus and Rice Dwarf Virus are used to demonstrate its applicability to modeling protein structure.