PIXER: an automated particle-selection method based on segmentation using a deep neural network.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) has become a widely used tool for determining the structures of proteins and macromolecular complexes. To acquire the input for single-particle cryo-EM reconstruction, researchers must select hundreds of thousands of particles from micrographs. As the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of micrographs is extremely low, the performance of automated particle-selection methods is still unable to meet research requirements. To free researchers from this laborious work and to acquire a large number of high-quality particles, we propose an automated particle-selection method (PIXER) based on the idea of segmentation using a deep neural network. RESULTS:First, to accommodate low-SNR conditions, we convert micrographs into probability density maps using a segmentation network. These probability density maps indicate the likelihood that each pixel of a micrograph is part of a particle instead of just background noise. Particles selected from density maps have a more robust signal than do those directly selected from the original noisy micrographs. Second, at present, there is no segmentation-training dataset for cryo-EM. To enable our plan, we present an automated method to generate a training dataset for segmentation using real-world data. Third, we propose a grid-based, local-maximum method to locate the particles from the probability density maps. We tested our method on simulated and real-world experimental datasets and compared PIXER with the mainstream methods RELION, DeepEM and DeepPicker to demonstrate its performance. The results indicate that, as a fully automated method, PIXER can acquire results as good as the semi-automated methods RELION and DeepEM. CONCLUSION:To our knowledge, our work is the first to address the particle-selection problem using the segmentation network concept. As a fully automated particle-selection method, PIXER can free researchers from laborious particle-selection work. Based on the results of experiments, PIXER can acquire accurate results under low-SNR conditions within minutes.
Project description:Three dimensional Electron Microscopy (EM) and in particular single particle reconstruction using cryo-EM, has rapidly advanced over recent years, such that increasingly several macromolecular complexes can be resolved at subnanometer resolution (6-10 Å). This paper reviews some of the main volumetric image and geometric post-processing steps once a three dimensional EM map (henceforth a 3D map) has been reconstructed from single particle Cryo-EM, as essential steps in an enhanced and automated computational structure interpretation pipeline. In particular the paper addresses automated filtering, critical point calculations, symmetric and non-symmetric molecular domain segmentation, molecular surface selection, curation, and protein secondary structure (?- helices and ?-sheets) elucidation from 3D maps.
Project description:Single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) has become a mainstream tool for the structural determination of biological macromolecular complexes. However, high-resolution cryo-EM reconstruction often requires hundreds of thousands of single-particle images. Particle extraction from experimental micrographs thus can be laborious and presents a major practical bottleneck in cryo-EM structural determination. Existing computational methods for particle picking often use low-resolution templates for particle matching, making them susceptible to reference-dependent bias. It is critical to develop a highly efficient template-free method for the automatic recognition of particle images from cryo-EM micrographs.We developed a deep learning-based algorithmic framework, DeepEM, for single-particle recognition from noisy cryo-EM micrographs, enabling automated particle picking, selection and verification in an integrated fashion. The kernel of DeepEM is built upon a convolutional neural network (CNN) composed of eight layers, which can be recursively trained to be highly "knowledgeable". Our approach exhibits an improved performance and accuracy when tested on the standard KLH dataset. Application of DeepEM to several challenging experimental cryo-EM datasets demonstrated its ability to avoid the selection of un-wanted particles and non-particles even when true particles contain fewer features.The DeepEM methodology, derived from a deep CNN, allows automated particle extraction from raw cryo-EM micrographs in the absence of a template. It demonstrates an improved performance, objectivity and accuracy. Application of this novel method is expected to free the labor involved in single-particle verification, significantly improving the efficiency of cryo-EM data processing.
Project description:Electron cryo-tomography (cryo-ET) is a technique that is used to produce 3D pictures (tomograms) of complex objects such as asymmetric viruses, cellular organelles or whole cells from a series of tilted electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) images. Averaging of macromolecular complexes found within tomograms is known as subtomogram averaging, and this technique allows structure determination of macromolecular complexes in situ. Subtomogram averaging is also gaining in popularity for the calculation of initial models for single-particle analysis. We describe herein a protocol for subtomogram averaging from cryo-ET data using the RELION software (http://www2.mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk/relion). RELION was originally developed for cryo-EM single-particle analysis, and the subtomogram averaging approach presented in this protocol has been implemented in the existing workflow for single-particle analysis so that users may conveniently tap into existing capabilities of the RELION software. We describe how to calculate 3D models for the contrast transfer function (CTF) that describe the transfer of information in the imaging process, and we illustrate the results of classification and subtomogram averaging refinement for cryo-ET data of purified hepatitis B capsid particles and Saccharomyces cerevisiae 80S ribosomes. Using the steps described in this protocol, along with the troubleshooting and optimization guidelines, high-resolution maps can be obtained in which secondary structure elements are resolved subtomogram.
Project description:Cryo-electron microscopy (cryoEM) is becoming popular as a tool to solve biomolecular structures with the recent availability of direct electron detectors allowing automated acquisition of high resolution data. The Bsoft software package, developed over 20 years for analyzing electron micrographs, offers a full workflow for validated single particle analysis with extensive functionality, enabling customization for specific cases. With the increasing use of cryoEM and its automation, proper validation of the results is a bigger concern. The three major validation approaches, independent data sets, resolution-limited processing, and coherence testing, can be incorporated into any Bsoft workflow. Here, the main workflow is divided into four phases: (i) micrograph preprocessing, (ii) particle picking, (iii) particle alignment and reconstruction, and (iv) interpretation. Each of these phases represents a conceptual unit that can be automated, followed by a check point to assess the results. The aim in the first three phases is to reconstruct one or more validated maps at the best resolution possible. Map interpretation then involves identification of components, segmentation, quantification, and modeling. The algorithms in Bsoft are well established, with future plans focused on ease of use, automation and institutionalizing validation.
Project description:High-resolution single-particle cryo-EM data analysis relies on accurate particle picking. To facilitate the particle picking process, a self-supervised workflow has been developed. This includes an iterative strategy, which uses a 2D class average to improve training particles, and a progressively improved convolutional neural network for particle picking. To automate the selection of particles, a threshold is defined (%/Res) using the ratio of percentage class distribution and resolution as a cutoff. This workflow has been tested using six publicly available data sets with different particle sizes and shapes, and can automatically pick particles with minimal user input. The picked particles support high-resolution reconstructions at 3.0?Å or better. This workflow is a step towards automated single-particle cryo-EM data analysis at the stage of particle picking. It may be used in conjunction with commonly used single-particle analysis packages such as Relion, cryoSPARC, cisTEM, SPHIRE and EMAN2.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The detection of weak signals and selection of single particles from low-contrast micrographs of frozen hydrated biomolecules by cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) represents a major practical bottleneck in cryo-EM data analysis. Template-based particle picking by an objective function using fast local correlation (FLC) allows computational extraction of a large number of candidate particles from micrographs. Another independent objective function based on maximum likelihood estimates (MLE) can be used to align the images and verify the presence of a signal in the selected particles. Despite the widespread applications of the two objective functions, an optimal combination of their utilities has not been exploited. Here we propose a bi-objective function (BOF) approach that combines both FLC and MLE and explore the potential advantages and limitations of BOF in signal detection from cryo-EM data. RESULTS:The robustness of the BOF strategy in particle selection and verification was systematically examined with both simulated and experimental cryo-EM data. We investigated how the performance of the BOF approach is quantitatively affected by the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of cryo-EM data and by the choice of initialization for FLC and MLE. We quantitatively pinpointed the critical SNR (~ 0.005), at which the BOF approach starts losing its ability to select and verify particles reliably. We found that the use of a Gaussian model to initialize the MLE suppresses the adverse effects of reference dependency in the FLC function used for template-matching. CONCLUSION:The BOF approach, which combines two distinct objective functions, provides a sensitive way to verify particles for downstream cryo-EM structure analysis. Importantly, reference dependency of the FLC does not necessarily transfer to the MLE, enabling the robust detection of weak signals. Our insights into the numerical behavior of the BOF approach can be used to improve automation efficiency in the cryo-EM data processing pipeline for high-resolution structural determination.
Project description:BACKGROUND:An important task of macromolecular structure determination by cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) is the identification of single particles in micrographs (particle picking). Due to the necessity of human involvement in the process, current particle picking techniques are time consuming and often result in many false positives and negatives. Adjusting the parameters to eliminate false positives often excludes true particles in certain orientations. The supervised machine learning (e.g. deep learning) methods for particle picking often need a large training dataset, which requires extensive manual annotation. Other reference-dependent methods rely on low-resolution templates for particle detection, matching and picking, and therefore, are not fully automated. These issues motivate us to develop a fully automated, unbiased framework for particle picking. RESULTS:We design a fully automated, unsupervised approach for single particle picking in cryo-EM micrographs. Our approach consists of three stages: image preprocessing, particle clustering, and particle picking. The image preprocessing is based on multiple techniques including: image averaging, normalization, cryo-EM image contrast enhancement correction (CEC), histogram equalization, restoration, adaptive histogram equalization, guided image filtering, and morphological operations. Image preprocessing significantly improves the quality of original cryo-EM images. Our particle clustering method is based on an intensity distribution model which is much faster and more accurate than traditional K-means and Fuzzy C-Means (FCM) algorithms for single particle clustering. Our particle picking method, based on image cleaning and shape detection with a modified Circular Hough Transform algorithm, effectively detects the shape and the center of each particle and creates a bounding box encapsulating the particles. CONCLUSIONS:AutoCryoPicker can automatically and effectively recognize particle-like objects from noisy cryo-EM micrographs without the need of labeled training data or human intervention making it a useful tool for cryo-EM protein structure determination.
Project description:Selecting particles from digital micrographs is an essential step in single-particle electron cryomicroscopy (cryo-EM). As manual selection of complete datasets-typically comprising thousands of particles-is a tedious and time-consuming process, numerous automatic particle pickers have been developed. However, non-ideal datasets pose a challenge to particle picking. Here we present the particle picking software crYOLO which is based on the deep-learning object detection system You Only Look Once (YOLO). After training the network with 200-2500 particles per dataset it automatically recognizes particles with high recall and precision while reaching a speed of up to five micrographs per second. Further, we present a general crYOLO network able to pick from previously unseen datasets, allowing for completely automated on-the-fly cryo-EM data preprocessing during data acquisition. crYOLO is available as a standalone program under http://sphire.mpg.de/ and is distributed as part of the image processing workflow in SPHIRE.
Project description:A recently-developed method for identifying a compact, contiguous region representing the unique part of a density map was applied to 218 Cryo-EM maps with resolutions of 4.5?Å or better. The key elements of the segmentation procedure are (1) identification of all regions of density above a threshold and (2) choice of a unique set of these regions, taking symmetry into consideration, that maximize connectivity and compactness. This segmentation approach was then combined with tools for automated map sharpening and model-building to generate models for the 12 maps in the 2016 Cryo-EM Model Challenge in a fully automated manner. The resulting models have completeness from 24% to 82% and RMS distances from reference interpretations of 0.6?Å-2.1?Å.
Project description:Particle picking is a crucial first step in the computational pipeline of single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM). Selecting particles from the micrographs is difficult especially for small particles with low contrast. As high-resolution reconstruction typically requires hundreds of thousands of particles, manually picking that many particles is often too time-consuming. While template-based particle picking is currently a popular approach, it may suffer from introducing manual bias into the selection process. In addition, this approach is still somewhat time-consuming. This paper presents the APPLE (Automatic Particle Picking with Low user Effort) picker, a simple and novel approach for fast, accurate, and template-free particle picking. This approach is evaluated on publicly available datasets containing micrographs of ?-galactosidase, T20S proteasome, 70S ribosome and keyhole limpet hemocyanin projections.