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J Struct Biol. 2007 Apr;158(1):19-32. Epub 2006 Oct 20.

Bootstrap resampling for voxel-wise variance analysis of three-dimensional density maps derived by image analysis of two-dimensional crystals.

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The Scripps Research Institute, Department of Cell Biology, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Difference density maps are commonly used in structural biology for identifying conformational changes in macromolecular complexes. For interpretation of the results, it is essential to estimate the variance or standard deviation of the difference density and the distribution of errors in space. In order to compare three-dimensional density maps of gap junction channels with and without the C-terminal regulatory domain, we developed a bootstrap resampling method for estimation of the voxel-wise standard deviation. The bootstrap approach has been successfully used for estimating the sampling distribution from a limited data set and for estimating the statistical properties of the derived quantities [Efron, B., 1979. Bootstrap methods: another look at the jackknife. Ann. Stat. 7, 1-26]. In our application, the standard deviation map can be estimated by bootstrapping the images. Our results show that, apart from the symmetry axes and small regions bordering the lumen of the extracellular vestibule, difference maps normalized by the mean of the standard deviation map can be used as a good approximation of the t-test map of the gap junction crystals.

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