SIMPLE: Software for ab initio reconstruction of heterogeneous single-particles

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Abstract

The open source software suite SIMPLE: Single-particle IMage Processing Linux Engine provides data analysis methods for single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM). SIMPLE addresses the problem of obtaining 3D reconstructions from 2D projections only, without using an input reference volume for approximating orientations. The SIMPLE reconstruction algorithm is tailored to asymmetrical and structurally heterogeneous single-particles. Its basis is global optimization with the use of Fourier common lines. The advance that enables ab initio reconstruction and heterogeneity analysis is the separation of the tasks of in-plane alignment and projection direction determination via bijective orientation search - a new concept in common lines-based strategies. Bijective orientation search divides the configuration space into two groups of paired parameters that are optimized separately. The first group consists of the rotations and shifts in the plane of the projection; the second group consists of the projection directions and state assignments. In SIMPLE, ab initio reconstruction is feasible because the 3D in-plane alignment is approximated using reference-free 2D rotational alignment. The subsequent common lines-based search hence searches projection directions and states only. Thousands of class averages are analyzed simultaneously in a matter of hours. Novice SIMPLE users get a head start via the well documented front-end. The structured, object-oriented back-end invites advanced users to develop new alignment and reconstruction algorithms. An overview of the package is presented together with benchmarks on simulated data. Executable binaries, source code, and documentation are available at http://simple.stanford.edu.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)420-427
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Structural Biology
Volume180
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Ab initio reconstruction
  • Alignment
  • Clustering
  • Common lines
  • Cryo-EM
  • Flexibility
  • Fourier analysis
  • Heterogeneity
  • Image processing
  • Open source
  • Refinement
  • Single-particle
  • Software

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