We present a correlation-driven molecular dynamics (CDMD) method for automated refinement of atomistic models into cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) maps at resolutions ranging from near-atomic to subnanometer. It utilizes a chemically accurate force field and thermodynamic sampling to improve the real-space correlation between the modeled structure and the cryo-EM map. Our framework employs a gradual increase in resolution and map-model agreement as well as simulated annealing, and allows fully automated refinement without manual intervention or any additional rotamer- and backbone-specific restraints. Using multiple challenging systems covering a wide range of map resolutions, system sizes, starting model geometries and distances from the target state, we assess the quality of generated models in terms of both model accuracy and potential of overfitting. To provide an objective comparison, we apply several well-established methods across all examples and demonstrate that CDMD performs best in most cases.
All structures generated or analyzed during this study are included in the supporting files. Refinement protocols and other methodologies are described in Materials and Methods.
- Maxim Igaev
- Carsten Kutzner
- Lars V Bock
- Andrea C Vaiana
- Helmut Grubmüller
- Maxim Igaev
- Andrea C Vaiana
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Axel T Brunger, Stanford University, United States
© 2019, Igaev et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Cryogenic electron tomography (cryo-ET) combined with subtomogram averaging, allows in situ visualization and structure determination of macromolecular complexes at subnanometre resolution. Cryogenic focused ion beam (cryo-FIB) micromachining is used to prepare a thin lamella-shaped sample out of a frozen-hydrated cell for cryo-ET imaging, but standard cryo-FIB fabrication is blind to the precise location of the structure or proteins of interest. Fluorescence-guided focused ion beam (FIB) milling at target locations requires multiple sample transfers prone to contamination, and relocation and registration accuracy is often insufficient for 3D targeting. Here, we present in situ fluorescence microscopy-guided FIB fabrication of a frozen-hydrated lamella to address this problem: we built a coincident three-beam cryogenic correlative microscope by retrofitting a compact cryogenic microcooler, custom positioning stage, and an inverted widefield fluorescence microscope (FM) on an existing FIB scanning electron microscope. We show FM controlled targeting at every milling step in the lamella fabrication process, validated with transmission electron microscope tomogram reconstructions of the target regions. The ability to check the lamella during and after the milling process results in a higher success rate in the fabrication process and will increase the throughput of fabrication for lamellae suitable for high-resolution imaging.
A major goal of biological imaging is localization of biomolecules inside a cell. Fluorescence microscopy can localize biomolecules inside whole cells and tissues, but its ability to count biomolecules and accuracy of the spatial coordinates is limited by the wavelength of visible light. Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) provides highly accurate position and orientation information of biomolecules but is often confined to small fields of view inside a cell, limiting biological context. In this study, we use a new data-acquisition scheme called Defocus-Corrected Large-Area cryo-EM (DeCo-LACE) to collect high-resolution images of entire sections (100- to 250-nm-thick lamellae) of neutrophil-like mouse cells, representing 1–2% of the total cellular volume. We use 2D template matching (2DTM) to determine localization and orientation of the large ribosomal subunit in these sections. These data provide maps of ribosomes across entire sections of mammalian cells. This high-throughput cryo-EM data collection approach together with 2DTM will advance visual proteomics and provide biological insight that cannot be obtained by other methods.