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LoTToR: An Algorithm for Missing-Wedge Correction of the Low-Tilt Tomographic 3D Reconstruction of a Single-Molecule Structure.

  • Author(s): Zhai, Xiaobo
  • Lei, Dongsheng
  • Zhang, Meng
  • Liu, Jianfang
  • Wu, Hao
  • Yu, Yadong
  • Zhang, Lei
  • Ren, Gang
  • et al.
Abstract

A single-molecule three-dimensional (3D) structure is essential for understanding the thermal vibrations and dynamics as well as the conformational changes during the chemical reaction of macromolecules. Individual-particle electron tomography (IPET) is an approach for obtaining a snap-shot 3D structure of an individual macromolecule particle by aligning the tilt series of electron tomographic (ET) images of a targeted particle through a focused iterative 3D reconstruction method. The method can reduce the influence on the 3D reconstruction from large-scale image distortion and deformation. Due to the mechanical tilt limitation, 3D reconstruction often contains missing-wedge artifacts, presented as elongation and an anisotropic resolution. Here, we report a post-processing method to correct the missing-wedge artifact. This low-tilt tomographic reconstruction (LoTToR) method contains a model-free iteration process under a set of constraints in real and reciprocal spaces. A proof of concept is conducted by using the LoTToR on a phantom, i.e., a simulated 3D reconstruction from a low-tilt series of images, including that within a tilt range of ±15°. The method is validated by using both negative-staining (NS) and cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) experimental data. A significantly reduced missing-wedge artifact verifies the capability of LoTToR, suggesting a new tool to support the future study of macromolecular dynamics, fluctuation and chemical activity from the viewpoint of single-molecule 3D structure determination.

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