For a more complete understanding of molecular mechanisms, it is important to study macromolecules and their assemblies in the broader context of the cell. This context can be visualized at nanometer resolution in three dimensions (3D) using electron cryo-tomography, which requires tilt series to be recorded and computationally aligned, currently limiting throughput. Additionally, the high-resolution signal preserved in the raw tomograms is currently limited by a number of technical difficulties, leading to an increased false-positive detection rate when using 3D template matching to find molecular complexes in tomograms. We have recently described a 2D template matching approach that addresses these issues by including high-resolution signal preserved in single-tilt images. A current limitation of this approach is the high computational cost that limits throughput. We describe here a GPU-accelerated implementation of 2D template matching in the image processing software cisTEM that allows for easy scaling and improves the accessibility of this approach. We apply 2D template matching to identify ribosomes in images of frozen-hydrated Mycoplasma pneumoniae cells with high precision and sensitivity, demonstrating that this is a versatile tool for in situ visual proteomics and in situ structure determination. We benchmark the results with 3D template matching of tomograms acquired on identical sample locations and identify strengths and weaknesses of both techniques, which offer complementary information about target localization and identity.
All the code used for the 2D template matching has an open source license and is freely available from the cisTEM github repository, https://github.com/timothygrant80/cisTEM. The images of M. pneumoniae analyzed for this work, as well as the 70S reconstructions have been deposited in the EMPIAR and EMDB databases, https://www.ebi.ac.uk/pdbe/emdb/empiar/ and https://www.ebi.ac.uk/pdbe/emdb,
- Julia Mahamid
- Bronwyn A Lucas
- Benjamin A Himes
- Nikolaus Grigorieff
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Edward H Egelman, University of Virginia, United States
© 2021, Lucas 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.
Previously, we showed that high-resolution template matching can localize ribosomes in two-dimensional electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) images of untilted Mycoplasma pneumoniae cells with high precision (Lucas et al., 2021). Here, we show that comparing the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) observed with 2DTM using different templates relative to the same cellular target can correct for local variation in noise and differentiate related complexes in focused ion beam (FIB)-milled cell sections. We use a maximum likelihood approach to define the probability of each particle belonging to each class, thereby establishing a statistic to describe the confidence of our classification. We apply this method in two contexts to locate and classify related intermediate states of 60S ribosome biogenesis in the Saccharomyces cerevisiae cell nucleus. In the first, we separate the nuclear pre-60S population from the cytoplasmic mature 60S population, using the subcellular localization to validate assignment. In the second, we show that relative 2DTM SNRs can be used to separate mixed populations of nuclear pre-60S that are not visually separable. 2DTM can distinguish related molecular populations without the need to generate 3D reconstructions from the data to be classified, permitting classification even when only a few target particles exist in a cell.
Acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) are trimeric proton-gated sodium channels. Recent work has shown that these channels play a role in necroptosis following prolonged acidic exposure like occurs in stroke. The C-terminus of ASIC1a is thought to mediate necroptotic cell death through interaction with receptor interacting serine threonine kinase 1 (RIPK1). This interaction is hypothesized to be inhibited at rest via an interaction between the C- and N-termini which blocks the RIPK1 binding site. Here, we use two transition metal ion FRET methods to investigate the conformational dynamics of the termini at neutral and acidic pH. We do not find evidence that the termini are close enough to be bound while the channel is at rest and find that the termini may modestly move closer together during acidification. At rest, the N-terminus adopts a conformation parallel to the membrane about 10 Å away. The distal end of the C-terminus may also spend time close to the membrane at rest. After acidification, the proximal portion of the N-terminus moves marginally closer to the membrane whereas the distal portion of the C-terminus swings away from the membrane. Together these data suggest that a new hypothesis for RIPK1 binding during stroke is needed.