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Acta Crystallogr D Struct Biol. 2020 Feb 1;76(Pt 2):94-101. doi: 10.1107/S2059798319016577. Epub 2020 Jan 30.

Amyloid structure determination in RELION-3.1.

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MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Francis Crick Avenue, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridge CB2 0QH, England.


Helical reconstruction in RELION is increasingly being used to determine the atomic structures of amyloid filaments from electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) images. However, because the energy landscape of amyloid refinements is typically fraught with local optima, amyloid structure determination is often difficult. This paper aims to help RELION users in this process. It discusses aspects of helical reconstruction that are particularly relevant to amyloids, it illustrates the problem of local optima in refinement and how to detect them, and it introduces a new method to calculate 3D initial models from reference-free 2D class averages. By providing starting models that are closer to the global optimum, this method makes amyloid structure determination easier. All methods described are open-source and distributed within RELION-3.1. Their use is illustrated using a publicly available data set on tau filaments from the brain of an individual with Alzheimer's disease.


Bayesian framework; RELION; amyloid; cryo-EM; helical reconstruction


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