Automatic local resolution-based sharpening of cryo-EM maps

Erney Ramírez-Aportela, Jose Luis Vilas, Alisa Glukhova, Roberto Melero, Pablo Conesa, Marta Martínez, David Maluenda, Javier Mota, Amaya Jiménez, Javier Vargas, Roberto Marabini, Patrick M. Sexton, Jose Maria Carazo, Carlos Oscar S. Sorzano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


MOTIVATION: Recent technological advances and computational developments have allowed the reconstruction of Cryo-Electron Microscopy (cryo-EM) maps at near-atomic resolution. On a typical workflow and once the cryo-EM map has been calculated, a sharpening process is usually performed to enhance map visualization, a step that has proven very important in the key task of structural modeling. However, sharpening approaches, in general, neglects the local quality of the map, which is clearly suboptimal. 

RESULTS: Here, a new method for local sharpening of cryo-EM density maps is proposed. The algorithm, named LocalDeblur, is based on a local resolution-guided Wiener restoration approach of the original map. The method is fully automatic and, from the user point of view, virtually parameter-free, without requiring either a starting model or introducing any additional structure factor correction or boosting. Results clearly show a significant impact on map interpretability, greatly helping modeling. In particular, this local sharpening approach is especially suitable for maps that present a broad resolution range, as is often the case for membrane proteins or macromolecules with high flexibility, all of them otherwise very suitable and interesting specimens for cryo-EM. To our knowledge, and leaving out the use of local filters, it represents the first application of local resolution in cryo-EM sharpening. 

AVAILABILITY AND IMPLEMENTATION: The source code (LocalDeblur) can be found at and can be run using Scipion ( (release numbers greater than or equal 1.2.1). 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)765-772
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020

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